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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




ENDOWED BY THE 

DIALECTIC AND PHILANTHROPIC 

SOCIETIES 



PR5850 

.E57 

v.l 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 




00014724578 

This book is due at the WALibH h. UAVib LibMAMY on 
the last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it 
nnay be renewed by bringing it to the library. 



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POETICAL WOKKS 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. 




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THE 



POETICAL WORKS 



WILLIAM WOKDSWOKTH. 



IN SIX VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 



A NEW EDITION. 



LONDON : 
EDWAED MOXON, DOVEE STEEET. 

1857. 



LONDON: 
EBADBUBY AND KVANS, PRINTEPS, WHITEFKIAaS 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



This edition of "The Poetical Works of William 
Wordsworth," containing the whole of his published 
Poems, has been prepared by the direction of his 
Trustees. 

The readers of Wordsworth will, it is hoped, be 
gratified to find that prefatory Notes are, now for the 
first time, placed at the head of many of the Poems, 
having reference to the characters or localities treated 
of, or to the circumstances under which the Poems 
were respectively written. 

Those Notes were dictated by the Author at the 
request of a dear friend of his, by whom they were 
written down, and to whom the Manuscript belonged. 
This was done in the year 1843. The Notes were 
written with the sole view of their being perused by 
the Author's nearest friends, and without the remotest 
intention, either on the part of the Poet or the writer, 
of their ever being published. To most of those 
friends, there does not appear to be any valid reason 



vi ADVERTISEMENT. 

why the pleasure and benefit to be derived from the 
Notes should not, by their publication, be more widely 
diffused than was originally contemplated. They 
contain interesting matter, irrespective of their bearing 
on the Poems, and, surely, when taken in connection 
with the latter, which they tend to illustrate and 
explain, the general and less judicious reader, even, 
can scarcely fail to derive additional interest and 
pleasure, by being thus brought into more immediate 
community of feeling with the Poet, from a know- 
ledge of the circumstances by which the Poems were 
suggested, and of the feelings under which they were 
composed. 

Under this impression the Notes are now given to 
the public in connection with the Poems. 



Rydal Mount, Ambleside, 
January, 1857. 



[These verses were written some time after we had become residents 
at Rydal Mount, and I will take occasion from them to observe 
upon the beauty of that situation, as being backed and flanked 
by lofty fells, which bring the heavenly bodies to touch, as it 
were, the earth upon the mountain-tops, while the prospect in 
front lies open to a length of level valley, the extended lake, and 
a terminating ridge of low hills ; so that it gives an opportunity 
to the inhabitants of the place of noticing the stars in both the 
positions here alluded to, namely, on the tops of the mountains, 
and as winter-lamps at a distance amoug the leafless trees.] 

If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven, 

Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light, 

Shine, Poet ! in thy place, and be content : — 

The stars pre-eminent in magnitude, 

And they that from the zenith dart their beams, 

(Yisible though they be to half the earth. 

Though half a sphere be conscious of their brightness) 

Are yet of no diviner origin, 

No purer essence, than the one that burns. 

Like an untended watch-fire, on the ridge 

Of some dark mountain ; or than those which seem 

Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps. 

Among the branches of the leafless trees ; 

All are the undying offspring of one Sire : 

Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed, 

Shine, Poet ! in thy place, and be content. 



CONTENTS. 



POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

PAGE 

Extract from the Conclusion of a Poem, composed in anti- 
cipation of leaving Scliool ..... 1 

Written in very early Youth . . . . . . 2 

An Evening Walk. Addressed to a Young Lady . . 3 
Lines written while sailing in a Boat at Evening . . . 17 
Remembrance of Collins, composed upon the Thames near 

Richmond ........ 18 

Descriptive Sketches taken during a Pedestrian Tour 

among the Alps . . . . . . . 19 

Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near 
the Lake of Esthwaite, on a desolate part of the Shore, 
commanding a beautiful Prospect . . . .43 

Gruilt and Sorrow ; or, Incidents upon Salisbury Plain . . 46 
The Borderers. A Tragedy 73 



CONTENTS. 



POEMS REFEERING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

PAGE 

My heart leaps up wlien I beliold . . . . . 166 

To a Butterfly ...... . . 166 

The Sparrow's Nest . . . . . . . . 167 

Foresight . . 168 

Characteristics of a Child three Years old . . . . 170 
Address to a Child, during a Boisterous Winter Evening . 171 
The Mother's Eeturn . , . , . . .173 

Alice Fell ; or, Poverty , . 175 

Lucy Gray ; or. Solitude . . . . . .178 

We are Seven . 181 

The Idle Shepherd-boys ; or, Dungeon- Ghyll Force. A 

Pastoral . . . . . . . .186 

Anecdote for Fathers . . . . , . . 190 

Eural Architecture . . . . . . .193 

The Pet-lamb. A Pastoral 194 

To H. C. Six Years old ...... 198 

Influence of Natural Objects in calling forth and strengthen- 
ing the imagination in Boyhood and early Youth . .200 
The Longest Day. Addressed to my Daughter , . 202 

The Norman Boy . . . . . . , . 205 

The Poet's Dream. Sequel to the Norman Boy . . 208 

The Westmoreland Girl.— Part I. . . . . . 213 

. _ Part II. . . . .214 



CONTENTS. 



POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

PAGE 

The Brothers 218 

Artegal and Elidnre . . . . ,' . . 233 
To a Butterfly . . . . . ... . . 242 

A Farewell 243 

Stanzas written in my Pocket-copy of Thomson's Castle of 

Indolence 245 

Louisa. After accompanying her on a Mountain Excursion 248 
Strange fits of passion have I known . . . .249 
She dwelt among the untrodden ways . . . . 250 

I travelled among unknown men , . . . .250 
Ere with cold beads of midnight dew . . . . 251 

To- . . ,252 

The Forsaken 253 

'Tis said, that some have died for love . . . .254 

A Complaint ... 256 

To . . 257 

Yes ! thou art fair, yet he not moved . . . . 258 

How rich that forehead's calm expanse .... 258 
What heavenly smiles ! Lady mine . . . . 259 

To 259 

Lament of Mary Queen of Scots, on the Eve of a New Year 260 
The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman . . . 263 

The Last of the Flock .266 

Repentance. A Pastoral Ballad 270 



xii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

The Affliction of Margaret 272 

The Cottager to her Infant . . . . . . 275 

Maternal Grief 276 

The Sailor's Mother . . 279 

The Childless Father 280 

The Emigrant Mother . 281 

Vaudracour and Julia ....... 285 

The Idiot Boy 295 

Michael. A Pastoral Poem 311 

The Widow of Windermere Side . . . . . 326 

The Armenian Lady's Love 328 

Loving and Liking. Irregular Verses, addressed to a Child 335 

Farewell Lines 337 

The Redbreast. Suggested in a Westmoreland Cottage . 338 
Her Eyes are Wild 341 

POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

It was an April morning : fresh and clear . . . . 346 

To Joanna 348 

There is an Eminence, — of these our hills . . . . 351 

A narrow girdle of rough stones and crags . . .352 

To M. H . 355 

When, to the attractions of the busy world . . . 356 

Forth from a jutting ridge, around whose base . . . 359 

Notes . . . .361 



POEMS WEITTEN IN YOUTH. 



Of the Poems in this class, "The Evening Walk" and 
'* Descriptive Sketches" were first published in 1793. They 
are reprinted with some alterations that were chiefly made very 
soon after their publication. 

* -j'r -is- -;;- -H- '■- 

This notice, which was written some time ago, scarcely applies to 
the Poem, "Descriptive Sketches," as it now stands. The correc- 
tioDs, though numerous, are not, however, such as to prevent its 
retaining with propriety a place in the class of Juvenile Pieces. 

1836. 



EXTRACT 

FROM THE CONCLUSION OF A POEM, COMPOSED IN ANTICIPATION 
OP LEAVING SCHOOL. 

[Written at Hawkshead. The beautiful image with which this 
poem concludes, suggested itself to me while I was resting in 
a boat along with my companions under the shade of a magni- 
ficent row of sycamores, which then extended their branches 
from the shore of the promontory upon which stands the 
ancient, and at that time the more picturesque, Hall of Conis- 
ton, the seat of the Le Flemings from very early times. The 
poem of which it was the conclusion was of many hundred 
lines, and contained thoughts and images most of which have 
been dispersed through my other writings.] 

Deae native regions, I foretell, 
From what I feel at this farewell, 
That, wheresoe'er my steps may tend, 
And whensoe'er mj course shall end, 



POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

If in that hour a single tie 
Survive of local sympathy, 
My soul will cast the backward view. 
The longing look alone on you. 

Thus, while the Sun sinks down to rest 
Far in the regions of the west. 
Though to the vale no parting beam 
Be given, not one memorial gleam, 
A lingering light he fondly throws 
On the dear hills where first he rose. 



1786. 



II. 

WRITTEN IN VERY EARLY YOUTH. 

Calm is all nature as a resting wheel. 

The kine are couched upon the dewy grass ; 

The horse alone, seen dimly as I pass, 

Is cropping audibly his later meal : 

Dark is the ground ; a slumber seems to steal *- 

O'er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky. 

Now, in this blank of things, a harmony. 

Home-felt, and home-created, comes to heal 

That grief for which the senses still supply 

Presh food ; for only then, when memory 

Is hushed, am I at rest. My Priends ! restrain 

Those busy cares that would allay my pain ; 

Oh ! leave me to myself, nor let me feel 

The officious touch that makes me droop again. 



III. 
AN EYENINa WALK. 

ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY. 

[The yonng Lady to whom this was addressed was my Sister. It 
was composed at school, and during my two first College vaca- 
tions. There is not an image in it which I have not observed ; 
and now, in my seventy-third year, I recollect the time and 
place where most of them were noticed. I will confine myself 
to one instance : 

'* Waving his hat, the shepherd, from the vale, 
Directs his winding dog the cliffs to scale, — 
The dog, loud barking, 'mid the glittering rocks, 
Hunts, where his master points, the intercepted flocks." 

I was an eye-witness of this for the first time while crossing 
the Pass of Dunmail Raise. Upon second thought, I will 
mention another image : 

* ' And, fronting the bright west, yon oak entwines 
Its darkening boughs and leaves, in stronger lines." 

This is feebly and imperfectly expressed, but I recollect dis- 
tinctly the very spot where this first struck me. It was in 
the way between Hawkshead and Ambleside, and gave me 
extreme pleasure. The moment was important in my poetical 
history ; for I date from it my consciousness of the infinite 
variety of natural appearances which had been unnoticed by 
the poets of any age or country, so far as I was acquainted 
v/ith them ; and I made a resolution to supply, in some 
degree, the deficiency. I could not have been at that time 
above fourteen years of age. The description of the swans, 
tbat follows, was taken from the daily opportunities I had of 
observing their habits, not as confined to the gentleman's park, 
but in a state of nature. There were two pairs of them that 
divided the lake of Esthwaite and its in-and-out-flowing 
streams between them, never trespassing a single yard upon 
each other's separate domain. They were of the old magnifi- 
cent species, bearing in beauty and majesty about the same 
relation to the Thames swan which that does to the goose. It 
was from the remembrance of those noble creatures I took, 
thirty years after, the picture of the swan which I have dis- 
carded from the poem of Lion. While I was a school-boy, the 

B 2 



4 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

late Mr. Curwen introduced a little fleet of those birds, but of 
the inferior species, to the lake of Windermere. Their prin- 
cipal home was about his own island ; but they sailed about 
into remote parts of the lake, and, either from real or imagined 
injury done to the adjoining fields, they were got rid of at the 
request of the farmers and proprietors, but to the great regret 
of all who had become attached to them, from noticing their 
beauty and quiet habits. I will conclude my notice of this 
poem by observing that the plan of it has not been confined to 
a particular walk or an individual place, — a proof (of which I 
was unconscious at the time) of my unwillingness to submit 
the poetic spirit to the chains of fact and real circumstance. 
The country is idealised rather than described in any one of its 
local aspects.] 

General Sketch of the Lakes — Author's regret of his youth which was 
passed amongst them — Short description of Noon — Cascade — Noon- 
tide Retreat — Precipice and sloping Lights — Face of Nature as the 
Sun declines — Mountain-farm, and the Cock — Slate-quarry — Sunset — 
Superstition of the Country connected with that moment — Swans — 
Female Beggar — Twilight-sounds — Western Lights — Spirits — Night — 
Moonlight — Hope — Night-sounds — Conclusion. 

Far from my dearest Friend, 'tis mine to rove 
Through bare grey dell, high wood, and pastoral cove ; 
Where Derwent rests, and listens to the roar 
That stuns the tremulous cliffs of high Lodore ; 
"Where peace to Grrasmere's lonely island leads, 
To willowy hedge-rows, and to emerald meads ; 
Leads to her bridge, rude church, and cottaged grounds, 
Her rocky sheepwalks, and her woodland bounds ; 
Where, undisturbed by winds, Winander* sleeps 
'Mid clustering isles, and holly-sprinkled steeps ; 
Where twilight glens endear my Esthwaite's shore. 
And memory of departed pleasures, more. 

Fair scenes, erewhile, I taught, a happy child. 
The echoes of your rocks my carols wild : 
The spirit sought not then, in cherished sadness, 
A cloudy substitute for failing gladness. 

* These lines are only applicable to the middle part of that lake. 



AN EVENING WALK. 5 

In youth's keen eye the livelong day was bright, 

The sun at morning, and the stars at night, 

Alike, when first the bittern's hollow bill 

"Was heard, or woodcocks* roamed the moonlight hill. 

In thoughtless gaiety I coursed the plain, 
And hope itself was all I knew of pain ; 
Eor then, the inexperienced heart would beat 
At times, while young Content forsook her seat. 
And wild Impatience, pointing upw^ard, showed. 
Through passes yet unreached, a brighter road. 
Alas ! the idle tale of man is found 
Depicted in the dial's moral round ; 
Hope with reflection blends her social rays 
To gild the total tablet of his days ; 
Yet still, the sport of some malignant power. 
He knows but from its shade the present hour. 

But why, ungrateful, dwell on idle pain ? 
To show what pleasures yet to me remain. 
Say, will my Erieud, with unreluctant ear, 
The history of a poet's evening hear ? 

When, in the south, the wan noon, brooding still. 
Breathed a pale steam around the glaring hill. 
And shades of deep-embattled clouds were seen. 
Spotting the northern cliffs with lights betw^een ; 
When crowding cattle, checked by rails that make 
A fence far stretched into the shallow lake. 
Lashed the cool water with their restless tails. 
Or from high points of rock looked out for fanning gales : 
When school-boys stretchedtheirlength upon the green; 
And round the broad-spread oak, a glimiliering scene, 

*• In the beginning of winter, these mountains are frequented by wood- 
cocks, which in dark nights retire into the woods. 



6 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

In the rough fern-clad park, the herded deer 

Shook the still-twinkling tail and glancing ear ; 

When horses in the sunburnt intake'^' stood, 

And vainly eyed below^ the tempting flood, 

Or tracked the passenger, in mute distress, 

"With forward neck the closing gate to press — 

Then, while I wandered where the huddling rill 

Brightens with water-breaks the hollow ghyllf 

As by enchantment, an obscure retreat 

Opened at once, and stayed my devious feet. 

"While thick above the rill the branches close, 

In rocky basin its wild waves repose. 

Inverted shrubs, and moss of gloomy green, 

Cling from the rocks, with pale wood-weeds between ; 

And its own twilight softens the whole scene, 

Save where aloft the subtle sunbeams shine 

On withered briars that o'er the crags recline ; 

Save where, with sparkling foam, a small cascade 

Illumines, from within, the leafy shade ; 

Beyond, along the vista of the brook. 

Where antique roots its bustling course o'erlook, 

The eye reposes on a secret bridge J 

Half grey, half shagged with ivy to its ridge ; 

There, bending o'er the stream, the listless swain 

Lingers behind his disappearing wain. 

• — Did Sabine grace adorn my living line, 

Blandusia's praise, wild stream, should yield to thine ! 

JSTever shall ruthless minister of death 

'Mid thy soft glooms the glittering steel unsheath ; 

* The word intalce is local, and signifies a mountain-inclosure. 

t Ghyll is also, I believe, a term confined to this country: ghyll, and 
dingle, have the same meaning. 

X The reader who has made the tour of this country, will recognise, in 
this description, the features which characterise the lower waterfall in the 
grounds of Kydal. 



AN EVENING WALK. 



No goblets shall, for thee, be crowned with flowers, 

No kid with piteous outcry thrill thy bowers ; 

The mystic shapes that by thy margin rove 

A more benignant sacrifice approve — 

A mind, that, in a calm angelic mood 

Of happy wisdom, meditating good. 

Beholds, of all from her high powers required. 

Much done, and much designed, and more desired,-— 

Harmonious thoughts, a soul by truth refined. 

Entire afiection for all human kind. 

Dear Brook, farewell ! To-morrow's noon again 
Shall hide me, wooing long thy wildwood strain ; 
But now the sun has gained his western road, 
x\nd eve's mild hour invites my steps abroad. 

While, near the midway cliff, the silvered kite 
In many a whistling circle wheels her flight ; 
Slant watery lights, from parting clouds, apace 
Travel along the precipice's base ; 
Cheering its naked waste of scattered stone. 
By lichens grey, and scanty moss, o'ergrown ; 
Where scarce the foxglove peeps, or thistle's beard ; 
And restless stone-chat, all day long, is heard. 

How pleasant, as the sun declines, to view 
The spacious landscape change in form and hue ! 
Here, vanish, as in mist, before a flood 
Of bright obscurity, hill, lawn, and wood ; 
There, objects, by the searching beams betrayed, 
Come forth, and here retire in purple shade ; 
Even the white stems of birch, the cottage white, 
Soften their glare before the mellow light ; 
The skiffs, at anchor where with umbrage wide 
Ton chestnuts half the latticed boat-house hide, 



8 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Shed from tlieir sides, that face the sun's slant beam, 
Strong flakes of radiance on the tremulous stream : 
Eaised by yon travelling flock, a dusty cloud 
Mounts from the road, and spreads its moving shroud ; 
The shepherd, all involved in wreaths of fire, 
ISTow shows a shadowy speck, and now is lost entire. 

Into a gradual calm the breezes sink, 
A blue rim borders all the lake's still brink • 
There doth the twinkling aspen's foliage sleep, 
And insects clothe, like dust, the glassy deep : 
And now, on every side, the surface breaks 
Into blue spots, and slowly lengthening streaks ; 
Here, plots of sparkling water tremble bright 
With thousand thousand twinkling points of light ; 
There, waves that, hardly weltering, die away. 
Tip their smooth ridges with a softer ray ; 
And now the whole wide lake in deep repose 
Is hushed, and like a burnished mirror glows, 
Save where, along the shady western marge. 
Coasts, with industrious oar, the charcoal barge. 

Their panniered train a group of potters goad, 
Winding from side to side up the steep road ; 
The peasant, from yon clifl* of fearful edge 
Shot, down the headlong path darts with his sledge ; 
Bright beams the lonely mountain-horse illume 
Teeding 'mid purple heath, "green rings*," and broom ; 
While the sharp slope the slackened team confounds, 
Downward the ponderous timber- wain resounds ; 
In foamy breaks the rill, with merry song. 
Dashed o'er the rough rock, lightly leaps along ; 
From lonesome chapel at the mountain's feet, 
Three humble bells their rustic chime repeat ; 

* "Vivid rings of greeu."— Greenwood's Poem on Shooting, 



AN EVENING WALK. • 9 

Sounds from the water-side the hammered boat ; 

And blasted quarry thunders, heard remote ! 
Even here, amid the sweep of endless woods, 

Blue pomp of lakes, high cliffs, and falling floods, 

JNTot undelightful are the simplest charms. 

Pound by the grassy door of mountain-farms. 
Sweetly ferocious *, round his native walks, 

Pride of his sister-wives, the monarch stalks ; 

Spur-clad his nervous feet, and firm his tread ; 

A crest of purple tops the warrior's head. 

Bright sparks his black and rolling eye-ball hurls 

Afar, his tail he closes and unfurls ; 

On tiptoe reared, he strains his clarion throat, 

Threatened by faintly-answering farms remote : 
Again with his shrill voice the mountain rings, 

While, flapped with conscious pride, resound his wings ! 
Where, mixed with graceful birch, the sombrous pine 
And yew-tree o'er the silver rocks recline ; 
I love to mark the quarry's moving trains, 
Dwarf panniered steeds, and men, and numerous wains; 
How busy all the enormous hive within, 
While Echo dallies with its various din ! 
Some (hear you not their chisels' clinking sound ? ) 
Toil, small as pigmies in the gulf profound ; 
Some, dim between the lofty cliffs descried, 
O'erwalk the slender plank from side to side ; 
These, by the pale-blue rocks that ceaseless ring, 
In airy baskets hanging, work and sing. 

Just where a cloud above the mountain rears 
An edge all flame, the broadening sun appears ; 



* " Dolcemente feroce." — Tasso. — In tins description of the cock, I 
remembered a spirited one of the same animal in L' Agriculture, ou Les 
G^orgiques Francoises, of M. Rossuet. 



10 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

A long blue bar its aegis orb divides, 

And breaks the spreading of its golden tides ; 

And now tbat orb has touched the purple steep 

Whose softened image penetrates the deep. 

'Cross the calm lake's blue shades the cliffs aspire, 

"With towers and woods, a " prospect all on fire ; " 

While coves and secret hollows, through a ray 

Of fainter gold, a purple gleam betray. 

Each slip of lawn the broken rocks between 

Shines in the light with more than earthly green : 

Deep yellow beams the scattered stems illume, 

Par in the level forest's central gloom : 

Waving his hat, the shepherd, from the vale, 

Directs his winding dog the cliffs to scale, — 

The dog, loud barking, 'mid the glittering rocks, 

Hunts, where his master points, the intercepted flocks. 

Where oaks o'erhang the road the radiance shoots 

On tawny earth, wild weeds, and twisted roots ; 

The druid- stones a brightened ring unfold ; 

And all the babbling brooks are liquid gold ; 

Sunk to a curve, the day-star lessens still, 

Grives one bright glance, and drops behind the hill *. 

In these secluded vales, if village fame, 
Confirmed by hoary hairs, belief may claim ; 
When up the hills, as now, retired the light. 
Strange apparitions mocked the shepherd's sight. 

The form appears of one that spurs his steed 
Midway along the hill with desperate speed ; 
Unhurt pursues his lengthened flight, while all 
Attend, at every stretch, his headlong fall. 
Anon, appears a brave, a gorgeous show 
Of horsemen-shadows moving to and fro ; 

^ From Thomson. 



AN EVENING WALK. 11 

At intervals imperial banners stream, 

And now the van reflects the solar beam ; 

The rear through iron brown betrays a sullen gleam. 

While silent stands the admiring crowd below, 

Silent the visionary warriors go, 

Winding in ordered pomp their upward way ^" 

Till the last banner of the long array 

Has disappeared, and every trace is fled 

Of splendor — save the beacon's spiry head 

Tipt with eve's latest gleam of burning red. 

Now, while the solemn evening shadows sail, 
On slowly- waving pinions, down the vale ; 
And, fronting the bright west, yon oak entwines 
Its darkening boughs and leaves, in stronger lines ; 
'Tis pleasant near the tranquil lake to stray 
Where, winding on along some secret bay. 
The swan uplifts his chest, and backward flings 
His neck, a varying arch, between his towering wings : 
The eye that marks the gliding creature sees 
How graceful, pride can be, and how majestic, ease. 
While tender cares and mild domestic loves 
With furtive watch pursue her as she moves, 
The female with a meeker charm succeeds. 
And her brown little-ones around her leads, 
Nibbling the water lilies as they pass. 
Or playing wanton with the floating grass. 
She, in a mother's care, her beauty's pride 
forgetting, calls the wearied to her side ; 
Alternately they mount her back, and rest 
Close by her mantling wings' embraces prest. 

* See a description of an appearance of this kind in Clark's Survey of 
the Lakes, accompanied by vouchers of its veracity, that may amuse the 
reader. 



12 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Long may tliey float upon tliis flood serene ; 
TJieirs be these holms untrodden, still, and green, 
Where leafy shades fence off the blustering gale, 
And breathes in peace the lily of the vale ! 
Yon isle, which feels not even the milk-maid's feet, 
Tet hears her song, ^' by distance made more sweet," 
Yon isle conceals their home, their hut-like bower ; 
Grreen water-rushes overspread the floor ; 
Long grass and willows form the woven wall, 
And swings .above the roof the poplar tall. 
Thence issuing often with unwieldy stalk. 
They crush with broad black feet their flowery walk ; 
Or, from the neighbouring water, hear at morn 
The hound, the horse's tread, and mellow horn ; 
Involve their serpent-necks in changeful rings, 
Kolled wantonly between their slippery wings. 
Or, starting up with noise and rude delight. 
Force half upon the wave their cumbrous flight. 

Fair Swan ! by all a mother's joys caressed. 
Haply some wretch has eyed, and called thee blessed ; 
When with her infants, from some shady seat 
By the lake's edge, she rose — to face the noontide heat; 
Or taught their limbs along the dusty road 
A few short steps to totter with their load. 

I see her now, denied to lay her head. 
On cold blue nights, in hut or straw-built shed, 
Turn to a silent smile their sleepy cry. 
By pointing to the gliding moon on high. 
— When low-hung clouds each star of summer hide. 
And fireless are the vallies far and wide. 
Where the brook brawls along the public road 
Dark with bat-haunted ashes stretching broad, 



AN EVENING WALK. 13 

Oft has she taught them on her lap to lay 
The shining glow-worm ; or, in heedless play, 
Toss it from hand to hand, disquieted ; 
"While others, not unseen, are free to shed 
Green unmolested light upon their mossy bed. 

Oh ! when the sleety showers her path assail. 
And like a torrent roars the headstrong gale ; 
JSTo more her breath can thaw their fingers cold. 
Their frozen arms her neck no more can fold ; 
Weak roof a cowering form two babes to shield, 
And faint the fire a dying heart can yield ! 
Press the sad kiss, fond mother ! vainly fears 
Thy flooded cheek to wet them with its tears ; 
JSTo tears can chill them, and no bosom warms, 
Thy breast their death-bed, coffined in thine arms ! 

Sweet are the sounds that mingle from afar. 
Heard by calm lakes, as peeps the folding star, 
Where the duck dabbles 'mid the rustling sedge. 
And feeding pike starts from the water's edge, 
Or the swan stirs the reeds, his neck and bill 
Wetting, that drip upon the water still ; 
And heron, as resounds the trodden shore. 
Shoots upward, darting his long neck before. 
Now, with religious awe, the farewell light 
Elends with the solemn colouring of night ; 
'Mid groves of clouds that crest the mountain's brow, 
And round the west's proud lodge their shadows throw, 
Like Una shining on her gloomy way, 
The half-seen form of Twilight roams astray ; 
Shedding, through paly loop-holes mild and small, 
Grleams that upon the lake's still bosom fall ; 
Soft o'er the surface creep those lustres pale 
Tracking the motions of the fitful gale. 



14 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

"With restless interchange at once the bright 
Wins on the shade, the shade upon the light. 
No favoured eye was e'er allowed to gaze 
On lovelier spectacle in faery days ; 
When gentle Spirits urged a sportive chase, 
Brushing with lucid wands the water's face : 
While music, stealing round the glimmering deeps, 
Charmed the tall circle of the enchanted steeps. 
— The lights are vanished from the watery plains : 
ISTo wreck of all the pageantry remains. 
Unheeded night has overcome the vales : 
On the dark earth the wearied vision fails ; 
The latest lingerer of the forest train. 
The lone black fir, forsakes the faded plain ; 
Last evening sight, the cottage smoke, no more, 
Lost in the thickened darkness, glimmers hoar ; 
And, towering from the sullen dark-brown mere, 
Like a black wall, the mountain-steeps appear. 
— Now o'er the soothed accordant heart we feel 
A sympathetic twilight slowly steal. 
And ever, as we fondly muse, we find 
The soft gloom deepening on the tranquil mind. 
Stay ! pensive, sadly-pleasing visions, stay ! 
Ah no ! as fades the vale, they fade away : 
Yet still the tender, vacant gloom remains ; 
Still the cold cheek its shuddering tear retains. 

The bird, who ceased, with fading light, to thread 
Silent the hedge or steamy rivulet's bed, 
Prom his grey re-appearing tower shall soon 
Salute with gladsome note the rising moon, 
While with a hoary light she frosts the ground, 
And pours a deeper blue to Other's bound ; 



AN EVENING WALK. 15 

Pleased, as she moves, her pomp of clouds to fold 
In robes of azure, fleecy-white, and gold. 

Above yon eastern hill, where darkness broods 
O'er all its vanished dells, and lawns, and woods; 
Where but a mass of shade the sight can trace. 
Even now she shews, half-veiled, her lovely face : 
Across the gloomy valley flings her light, 
Far to the western slopes with hamlets white ; 
And gives, where woods the chequered upland strew, 
To the green corn of summer, autumn's hue. 

Thus Hope, first pouring from her blessed horn 
Her dawn, far lovelier than the moon's own morn, 
'Till higher mounted, strives in vain to cheer 
The weary hills, impervious, blackening near ; 
Tet does she still, undaunted, throw the while 
On darling spots remote her tempting smile. 

Even now she decks for me a distant scene, 
(Eor dark and broad the gulf of time between) 
Gilding that cottage with her fondest ray, 
(Sole bourn, sole wish, sole object of my way ; 
How fair its lawns and sheltering woods appear ! 
How sweet its streamlet murmurs in mine ear !) 
Where we, my Eriend, to happy days shall rise, 
'Till our small share of hardly-paining sighs 
(Eor sighs will ever trouble human breath) 
Creep hushed into the tranquil breast of death. 

But now the clear bright Moon her zenith gains, 
And, rimy without speck, extend the plains : 
The deepest cleft the mountain's front displays 
Scarce hides a shadow from her searchiug rays ; 
Erom the dark-blue faint silvery threads divide 
The hills, while gleams below the azure tide ; 



16 POEMS WKITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Time softl J treads ; throughout the landscape breathes 
A peace enlivened, not disturbed, by wreaths 
Of charcoal-smoke, that o'er the fallen wood, 
Steal down the hill, and spread along the flood. 

The song of mountain-streams, unheard by day, 
'Now hardly heard, beguiles my homeward way. 
Air listens, like the sleeping water, still, 
To catch the spiritual music of the hill, 
Eroke only by the slow clock tolling deep, 
Or shout that wakes the ferry-lnan from sleep. 
The echoed hoof nearing the distant shore. 
The boat's first motion — made with dashing oar ; 
Sound of closed gate, across the water borne, 
Hurrying the timid hare through rustling corn ; 
The sportive outcry of the mocking owl ; 
And at long intervals the mill-dog's howl; 
The distant forge's swinging thump profound ; 
Or yell, in the deep woods, of lonely hound. 

1787, 8, & 9. 



ir 



IT. 

LINES 

WRITTEN WHILE SAILING IN A BOAT AT EVENING. 

[This title is scarcely correct. It was during a solitary walk on the 
banks of the Cam that I was first struck with this appearance, 
and applied it to my own feelings in the manner here expressed, 
changing the scene to the Thames, near Windsor. This, and 
the three stanzas of the following poem, ' * Kemembrance of 
Collins," formed one piece ; but, upon the recommendation of 
Coleridge, the three last stanzas were separated from the other.] 

How riclilj glows the water's breast 
Before us, tinged with evening hues, 
While, facing thus the crimson west, 
The boat her silent course pursues ! 
And see how dark the backward stream ! 
A little moment past so smiling 1 
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam, 
Some other loiterers beguiling. 

Such views the youthful Bard allure ; 
But, heedless of the following gloom, 
He deems their colours shall endure 
Till peace go with him to the tomb. 
— And let him nurse his fond deceit, 
And what if he must die in sorrow ! 
"Who would not cherish dreams so sweet, 
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow ? 

1789. 



18 



EEMEMBEANCE OF COLLINS, 

COMPOSED UPON THE THAMES NEAR RICHMOND. 

Glide gently, thus for ever glide, 
O Thames ! that other bards may see 
As lovely visions by thy side 
As now, fair river ! come to me. 
O glide, fair stream ! for ever so. 
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing. 
Till all our minds for ever flow 
As thy deep waters now are flowing. 

Vain thought ! — Yet be as now thou art, 
That in thy waters may be seen 
The image of a poet's heart. 
How bright, how solemn, how serene ! 
Such as did once the Poet bless, 
Who murmuring here a later ^ ditty, 
Could find no refuge from distress 
Eut in the milder grief of pity. 

Now let us, as we float along, 

Eor him suspend the dashing oar ; 

And pray that never child of song 

May know that Poet's sorrows more. 

How calm ! how still ! the only sound, 

The dripping of the oar suspended ! 

— The evening darkness gathers round 

Ey virtue's holiest Powers attended. 1789. 

^ CoUins's Ode on the death of Thomson, the last written, I believe, of 
the poems which were published during his life-time. This Ode is also 
alluded to in the next stanza. 



19 



YI. 

DESCEIPTIYE SKETCHES 

TAKEN 

DURING A PEDESTEIAN TOUR AMONG THE ALPS. 

[Much the greatest part of this poem was composed during my 
walks upon the banks of the Loire in the years 179], 1792. 
I will only notice that the description of the valley filled with 
mist, beginning — "In solemn shapes," was taken from that 
beautiful region of which the principal features are Lungarn 
and Sarnen. Nothing that I ever saw in nature left a more 
delightful impression on my mind than that which I have 
attempted, alas ! how feebly, to convey to others in these lines. 
Those two lakes have always interested me especially, from 
bearing, in their size and other features, a resemblance to 
those of the North of England. It is much to be deplored 
that a district so beautiful should be so unhealthy as it is.] 



THE KEY. EGBERT JONES, 

FELLOW OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. 

Deae Sir, 

However desirous I might have been of giving you 
proofs of the high place you hold in my esteem, I should have 
been cautious of wounding your delicacy by thus publicly 
addressing you, had not the circumstance of our having been 
companions among the Alps, seemed to give this dedication a 
propriety sufficient to do away any scruples which your modesty 
might otherwise have suggested. 

In inscribing this little work to you, I consult my heart. You 
know well how great is the difference between two companions 
lolling in a post-chaise, and two travellers plodding slowly along 
the road, side by side, each with his little knapsack of necessaries 
upon his shoulders. How much more of heart between the two 
latter ! 

I am happy in being conscious that I shall have one reader 

c 2 



20 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

who will approach the conclusion of these few pages with regret. 
You they must certainly interest, in reminding you of moments 
to which you can hardly look back without a pleasure not the 
less dear from a shade of melancholy. You will meet with few 
images without recollecting the spot where we observed them 
together ; consequently, whatever is feeble in my design, or 
spiritless in my colouring, will be amply supplied by your own 
memory. 

With still greater propriety I might have inscribed to you a 
description of some of the features of your native mountains, 
through which we have wandered together, in the same manner, 
with so much pleasure. But the sea-sunsets, which give such 
splendour to the vale of Clwyd, Snowdon, the chair of Idris, 
the quiet village of Bethgelert, Menai and her Druids, the 
Alpine steeps of the Conway, and the still more interesting 
windings of the wizard stream of the Dee, remain yet un- 
touched. Apprehensive that my pencil may never be exercised 
on these subjects, I cannot let slip this opportunity of thus 
publicly assuring you with how much affection and esteem 
I am, dear Sir, 

Most sincerely yours, 

London, 1793. W. WORDSWORTH. 



Happiness (if she had been to be found on earth) among the charms of 
Nature — Pleasures of the pedestrian Traveller — Author crosses France 
to the Alps — Present state of the Grande Chartreuse — Lake of Como — 
Time, Sunset — Same Scene, Twilight — Same Scene, Morning; its 
voluptuous Character ; Old man and forest-cottage music — River 
Tusa — Via Mala and Grison Gipsy — Sckellenen-thal — Lake of Uri — 
Stormy sunset — Chapel of William Tell — Force of local emotion — 
Chamois-chaser — View of the higher Alps — manner of life of a Swiss 
mountaineer, interspersed with views of the higher Alps — Golden age 
of the Alps — Life and views continued — Ranz des Vaches, famous 
Swiss Air — Abbey of Einsiedlen and its pilgrims — Valley of Chamouny 
— Mont Blanc — Slavery of Savoy — Influence of liberty on cottage- 
happiness — France— Wish for the Extirpation of slavery — Conclusion. 

"Were there, below, a spot of holy ground 
"Where from distress a refuge might be found, 
And solitude prepare the soul for heaven ; 
Sure, nature's God that spot to man had given 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 21 

Where falls the purple morning far and wide 
In flakes of light upon the mountain side ; 
Where with loud voice the power of water shakes 
The leafy wood, or sleeps in quiet lakes. 

Yet not unrecompensed the man shall roam, 
Who at the call of summer quits his home, 
And plods through some wide realm o'er vale and height, 
Though seeking only holiday delight ; 
At least, not owning to himself an aim 
To which the sage would give a prouder name. 
'No gains too cheaply earned his fancy cloy, 
Though every passing zephyr whispers joy ; 
Brisk toil, alternating with ready ease, 
Peeds the clear current of his sympathies. 
Tor him sod-seats the cottage-door adorn ; 
And peeps the far-off spire, his evening bourn ! 
Dear is the forest frowning o'er his head. 
And dear the velvet green-sward to his tread : 
Moves there a cloud o'er mid- day's flaming eye ? 
Upward he looks — "and calls it luxury:" 
Kind Nature's charities his steps attend ; 
In every babbling brook he finds a friend ; 
While chastening thoughts of sweetest use, bestowed 
By wisdom, moralise his pensive road. 
Host of his welcome inn, the noon-tide bower. 
To his spare meal he calls the passing poor ; 
He views the sun uplift his golden fire, 
Or sink, with heart alive like Memnon's lyre^ ; 
Blesses the moon that comes with kindly ray. 
To light him shaken by his rugged way. 

* The lyre of Memnon is reported to have emitted naelaiicholy or 
cheerful tones, as it was touched by the sun's evening or morning rays. 



22 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Back from liis sight no bashful children steal ; 
He sits a brother at the cottage-meal ; 
His humble looks no shy restraint impart ; 
Around him plays at will the virgin heart. 
While unsuspended wheels the village dance, 
The maidens eye him with enquiring glance, 
Much wondering by what fit of crazing care, 
Or desperate love, bewildered, he came there. 

A hope, that prudence could not then approve. 
That clung to Nature with a truant's love. 
O'er Grallia's wastes of corn my footsteps led ; 
Her files of road-elms, high above my head 
In long-drawn vista, rustling in the breeze ; 
Or where her pathways straggle as they please 
Ey lonely farms and secret villages. 
But lo ! the Alps ascending white in air. 
Toy with the sun and glitter from afar. 

And now, emerging from the forest's gloom, 
I greet thee, Chartreuse, while I mourn thy doom. 
Whither is fled that Power whose frown severe 
Awed sober E/cason till she crouched in fear ? 
That Silence, once in deathlike fetters bound, 
Chains that were loosened only by the sound 
Of holy rites chanted in measured round ? 
— The voice of blasphemy the fane alarms. 
The cloister startles at the gleam of arms. 
The thundering tube the aged angler hears. 
Bent o'er the groaning flood that sweeps away his tears. 
Cloud-piercing pine-trees nod their troubled heads, 
Spires, rocks, and lawns a browner night o'erspreads ; 
Strong terror checks the female peasant's sighs. 
And start the astonished shades at female eyes. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 23 

Prom Bruno's forest screams the affrighted jaj, 
And slow the insulted eagle wheels away. 
A viewless flight of laughing Demons mock 
The Cross, by angels planted"^ on the aerial rock. 
The "parting Genius" sighs with hollow breath 
Along the mystic streams of Life and Deathf. 
Swelling the outcry dull, that long resounds 
Portentous through her old woods' trackless bounds, 
Vallombre J, 'mid her falling fanes, deplores, 
For ever broke, the sabbath of her bowers. 

More pleased, my foot the hidden margin roves 
Of Como, bosomed deep in chestnut groves. 
1^0 meadows thrown between, the giddy steeps 
Tower, bare or sylvan, from the narrow deeps. 
— To towns, whose shades of no rude noise complain. 
Prom ringing team apart and grating wain — 
To flat-roofed towns, that touch the water's bound. 
Or lurk in woody sunless glens profound. 
Or, from the bending rocks, obtrusive cling, 
And o'er the whitened wave their shadows fling — 
The pathway leads, as round the steeps it twines ; 
And Silence loves its purple roof of vines. 
The loitering traveller hence, at evening, sees 
Prom rock-hewn steps the sail between the trees ; 
Or marks, 'mid opening cliff's, fair dark-eyed maids 
Tend the small harvest of their garden glades ; 
Or stops the solemn mountain- shades to view 
Stretch o'er the pictured mirror broad and blue. 
And track the yellow lights from steep to steep. 
As up the opposing hills they slowly creep. 

* Alluding to crosses seen on the tops of the spiry rocks of Chartreuse, 
which have every appearance of being inaccessible, 
t Names of rivers at the Chartreuse. 
I Name of one of the valleys of the Chartreuse. 



24 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Aloft, here, half a village shines, arrayed 
In golden light ; half hides itself in shade : 
While, from amid the darkened roofs, the spire, 
Eestlessly flashing, seems to mount like fire : 
There, all unshaded, blazing forests throw 
Eich golden verdure on the lake below. 
Slow glides the sail along the illumined shore. 
And steals into the shade the lazy oar ; 
Soft bosoms breathe around contagious sighs , 
And amorous music on the water dies. 

How blest, delicious scene I the eye that greets 
Thy open beauties, or thy lone retreats ; 
Beholds the unwearied sweep of wood that scales 
Thy clifis ; the endless waters of thy vales ; 
Thy lowly cots that sprinkle all the shore. 
Each with its household boat beside the door ; 
Thy torrents shooting from the clear-blue sky ; 
Thy towns, that cleave, like swallows' nests, on high ; 
That glimmer hoar in eve's last light, descried 
Dim from the twilight water's shaggy side. 
Whence lutes and voices down the enchanted woods 
Steal, and compose the oar-forgotten floods ; 
Thy lake, that, streaked or dappled, blue or grey, 
'Mid smoking woods gleams hid from morning's ray 
Slow-travelling down the western hills, to enfold 
Its green-tinged margin in a blaze of gold ; 
Thy glittering steeples, whence the matin bell 
Calls forth the woodman from his desert cell. 
And quickens the blithe sound of oars that pass 
Along the steaming lake, to early mass. 
But now farewell to each and all — adieu 
To every charm, and last and chief to you. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 25 

Ye lovelj maidens that in noontide shade 
Eest near jour little plots of wheaten glade ; 
To all that binds the soul in powerless trance, 
Lip- dewing song, and ringlet-tossing dance ; 
Where sparkling eyes and breaking smiles illume 
The sylvan cabin's lute-enlivened gloom. 
— Alas ! the very murmur of the streams 
Breathes o'er the failing soul voluptuous dreams, 
"While Slavery, forcing the sunk mind to dwell 
On joys that might disgrace the captive's cell, 
Her shameless timbrel shakes on Como's marge. 
And lures from bay to bay the vocal barge. 

Tet are thy softer arts with power indued 
To soothe and cheer the poor man's solitude. 
By silent cottage-doors, the peasant's home 
Left vacant for the day, I loved to roam. 
But once I pierced the mazes of a wood 
In which a cabin undeserted stood ; 
There an old man an olden measure scanned 
On a rude viol touched with withered hand. 
As lambs or fawns in April clustering lie 
Under a hoary oak's thin canopy. 
Stretched at his feet, with stedfast upward eye, 
His children's children listened to the sound ; 
—A Hermit with his family around ! 

But let us hence ; for fair Locarno smiles 
Embowered in walnut slopes and citron isles : 
Or seek at eve the banks of Tusa's stream. 
Where, 'mid dim towers and woods, her* waters gleam. 
Erom the bright w^ave, in solemn gloom, retire 
The dull-red steeps, and, darkening still, aspire 

* The river along whose banks you descend in crossing the Alps by the 
Simplon Pass. 



26 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

To where afar ricli orange lustres glow 

Kound Tindistinguished clouds, and rocks, and snow : 

Or, led where Via Mala's chasms confine 

The indignant waters of the infant Rhine, 

Hang o'er the abyss, whose else impervious gloom 

His burning eyes with fearful light illume. 

The mind condemned, without reprieve, to go 
O'er life's long deserts with its charge of woe, 
With sad congratulation joins the train 
Where beasts and men together o'er the plain 
Move on— a mighty caravan of pain : 
Hope, strength, and courage, social suffering brings, 
Freshening the wilderness with shades and springs. 
— There be whose lot far otherwise is cast : 
Sole human tenant of the piny waste. 
By choice or doom a gipsy wanders here, 
A nursling babe her only comforter ; 
Lo, where she sits beneath yon shaggy rock, 
A cowering shape half hid in curling smoke ! 

When lightning among clouds and mountain-snows 
Predominates, and darkness comes and goes, 
And the fierce torrent, at the flashes broad 
Starts, like a horse, beside the glaring road — 
She seeks a covert from the battering shower 
In the roofed bridge ^ ; the bridge, in that dread hour, 
Itself all trembling at the torrent's power. 

Nor is she more at ease on some still night. 
When not a star supplies the comfort of its light ; 
Only the waning moon hangs dull and red 
Above a melancholy mountain's head, 

^ Most of the bridges among the Alps are of wood, and covered : these 
bridges have a heavy appearance, and rather injure the efifect of the 
scenery in some places. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 27 

Then sets. In total gloom the Vagrant sighs, 
Stoops her sick head, and shuts her weary eyes ; 
Or on her fingers counts the distant clock. 
Or, to the drowsy crow of midnight cock. 
Listens, or quakes while from the forest's gulf 
Howls near and nearer yet the famished wolf. 

From the green vale of Urseren smooth and wide 
Descend we now, the maddened Reuss our guide ; 
By rocks that, shutting out the blessed day, 
Cling tremblingly to rocks as loose as they ; 
By cells ^ upon whose image, while he prays, 
The kneeling peasant scarcely dares to gaze ; 
By many a votive death-cross t planted near, 
And watered duly with the pious tear. 
That faded silent from the upward eye 
Unmoved with each rude form of peril nigh ; 
Pixed on the anchor left by Him who saves 
Alike in whelming snows, and roaring waves. 

But soon a peopled region on the sight 
Opens — a little world of calm delight ; 
"Where mists, suspended on the expiring gale, 
Spread rooflike o'er the deep secluded vale. 
And beams of evening slipping in between. 
Gently illuminate a sober scene : — 
Here, on the brown wood-cottages J they sleep. 
There, over rock or sloping pasture creep. 
On as we journey, in clear view displayed. 
The still vale lengthens underneath its shade 

* The Catholic religion prevails here : these cells are, as is well known, 
very common in the Catholic countries, planted, like the Koman tombs, 
along the road side. 

t Crosses, commemorative of the deaths of travellers by the fall of snow 
and other accidents, are very common along this dreadful road. 

X The houses in the more retired Swiss valleys are all built of wood. 



28 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Of low-hung vapour : on the freshened mead 
The green light sparkles ; — the dim bowers recede. 
"While pastoral pipes and streams the landscape lull^ 
And bells of passing mules that tinkle dull, 
In solemn shapes before the admiring eye 
Dilated hang the misty pines on high, 
Huge convent domes with pinnacles and towers, 
And antique castles seen through gleamy showers. 

From such romantic dreams, my soul, awake ! 
To sterner pleasure, where, by XJri's lake 
In IS^ature's pristine majesty outspread. 
Winds neither road nor path for foot to tread : 
The rocks rise naked as a w^all, or stretch 
Far o'er the water, hung with groves of beech ; 
Aerial pines from loftier steeps ascend, 
Nor stop but where creation seems to end. 
Yet here and there, if mid the savage scene 
Appears a scanty plot of smiling green, 
Up from the lake a zigzag path wdll creep 
To reach a small wood-hut hung boldly on the steep. 
— Before those thresholds (never can they know 
The face of traveller passing to and fro,) 
'No peasant leans upon his pole, to tell 
Tor whom at morning tolled the funeral bell ; 
Their watch- dog ne'er his angry bark foregoes, 
Touched by the beggar's moan of human woes ; 
The shady porch ne'er offered a cool seat 
To pilgrims overcome by summer's heat. 
Yet thither the world's business finds its way 
At times, and tales unsought beguile the day, 
And there are those fond thoughts which Solitude, 
However stern, is powerless to exclude. 



DESCEIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 29 

Tliere dotli the maiden watcli her lover's sail 
Approaching, and upbraid the tardy gale ; 
At midnight listens till his parting oar, 
And its last echo, can be heard no more. 

And what if ospreys, cormorants, herons, cry 
Amid tempestuous vapours driving by, 
Or hovering over wastes too bleak to rear 
That common growth of earth, the foodful ear ; 
Where the green apple shrivels on the spray. 
And pines the unripened pear in summer's kindliest ray; 
Contentment shares the desolate domain 
"With Independence, child of high Disdain. 
Exulting 'mid the winter of the skies. 
Shy as the jealous chamois, Freedom flies. 
And grasps by fits her sword, and often eyes ; 
And sometimes, as from rock to rock she bounds 
The Patriot nymph starts at imagined sounds, 
And, wildly pausing, oft she hangs aghast. 
Whether some old Swiss air hath checked her haste 
Or thrill of Spartan fife is caught between the blast. 

Swoln with incessant rains from hour to hour. 
All day the floods a deepening murmur pour : 
The sky is veiled, and every cheerful sight : 
Dark is the region as with coming night ; 
But what a sudden burst of overpowering light ! 
Triumphant on the bosom of the storm, 
Grlances the wheeling eagle's glorious form ! 
Eastward, in long perspective glittering, shine 
The wood-crowned clifl's that o'er the lake recline ; 
Those lofty clifl's a hundred streams unfold. 
At once to pillars turned that flame with gold : 
Behind his sail the peasant shrinks, to shun 
The west, that burns like one dilated sun, 



30 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

A crucible of miglitj compass, felt 

Bj mountains, glowing till thej seem to melt. 

But, lo ! the boatman, overawed, before 
The pictured fane of Tell suspends his oar ; 
Confused the Marathonian tale appears, 
While his eyes sparkle with heroic tears. 
And who, that walks where men of ancient days 
Have wrought with godlike arm the deeds of praise, 
Feels not the spirit of the place control. 
Or rouse and agitate his labouring soul ? 
Say, who, by thinking on Canadian hills, 
Or wild Aosta lulled by Alpine rills. 
On Zutphen's plain; or on that highland dell. 
Through which rough Garry cleaves his way, can tell 
"What high resolves exalt the tenderest thought 
Of him whom passion rivets to the spot. 
Where breathed the gale that caught Wolfe's happiest 

sigh. 
And the last sunbeam fell on Bayard's eye ; 
Where bleeding Sidney from the cup retired, 
And glad Dundee in " faint huzzas" expired ? 

But now with other mind I stand alone 
Upon the summit of this naked cone. 
And watch the fearless chamois-hunter chase 
His prey, through tracts abrupt of desolate space, 
^Through vacant worlds where Nature never gave 
A brook to murmur or a bough to wave. 
Which unsubstantial Phantoms sacred keep ; 
Thro' worlds where Life, and Voice, and Motion sleep ; 
Where silent Hours their death-like sway extend. 
Save when the avalanche breaks loose, to rend 

* For most of the images in the next sixteen verses, I am indebted to 
M. Raymond's interesting observations annexed to his translation of 
Coxe's Tour in Switzerland. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 31 

Its way with uproar, till the ruin, drowned 

In some dense wood or gulf of snow profound, 

Mocks the dull ear of Time with deaf abortive sound. 

— 'Tis his, while wandering on from height to height, 

To see a planet's pomp and steady light 

In the least star of scarce-appearing night ; 

While the pale moon moves near him, on the bound 

Of ether, shining with diminished round, 

And far and wide the icy summits blaze, 

Kejoicing in the glory of her rays : 

To him the day-star glitters small and bright, 

Shorn of its beams, insufferably white, 

And he can look beyond the sun, and view 

Those fast-receding depths of sable blue 

riying till vision can no more pursue ! 

— At once bewildering mists around him close. 

And cold and hunger are his least of woes ; 

The Demon of the snow, with angry roar 

Descending, shuts for aye his prison door. 

Soon with despair's whole weight his spirits sink ; 

Bread has he none, the snow must be his drink ; 

And, ere his eyes can close upon the day. 

The eagle of the Alps o'ershades her prey. 

Now couch thyself where, heard with fear afar. 
Thunders through echoing pines the headlong Aar ; 
Or rather stay to taste the mild delights 
Of pensive Underwalden's=^ pastoral heights. 
— Is there who 'mid these awful wilds has seen 
The native Genii walk the mountain green ? 
Or heard, while other worlds their charms reveal, 
Soft music o'er the aerial summit steal ? 

* The people of this Canton are supposed to be of a more melancholy 
disposition than the other inhabitants of the Alps; this, if true, may 
proceed from their living more secluded. 



32 POEMS WEITTEN IN YOUTH. 

While o'er tlie desert, answering every close, 
E/ich steam of sweetest perfume comes and goes. 
— And sure there is a secret Power that reigns 
Here, where no trace of man the spot profanes, 
Nought but the chalets^, flat and bare, on high 
Suspended 'mid the quiet of the sky ; 
Or distant herds that pasturing upward creep. 
And, not untended, climb the dangerous steep. 
How still ! no irreligious sound or sight 
Bouses the soul from her severe delight. 
An idle voice the sabbath region fills 
Of Deep that calls to Deep across the hills, 
And with that voice accords the soothing sound 
Of drowsy bells, for ever tinkling round ; 
Eaint wail of eagle melting into blue 
Beneath the cliffs, and pine-woods' steady sugh t ; 
The solitary heifer's deepened low ; 
Or rumbling, heard remote, of falling snow. 
All motions, sounds, and voices, far and nigh, 
Blend in a music of tranquillity ; 
Save when, a stranger seen below, the boy 
Shouts from the echoing hills with savage joy. 
When, from the sunny breast of open seas. 
And bays with myrtle fringed, the southern breeze 
Comes on to gladden April with the sight 
Of green isles widening on each snow-clad height ; 
AVhen shouts and lowing herds the valley fill, 
And louder torrents stun the noon-tide hill. 
The pastoral Swiss begin the cliffs to scale, 
Leaving to silence the deserted vale ; 

* This picture is from the middle region of the Alps. Chalets are sum- 
mer huts for the Swiss herdsmen. 

t Sugh, a Scotch word expressive of the sound of the wind through the 
trees. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 33 

And like the Patriarclis in their simple age 
Move, as the verdure leads, from stage to stage : 
High and more high in summer's heat they go. 
And hear the rattling thunder far below ; 
Or steal beneath the mountains, half- deterred. 
Where huge rocks tremble to the bellowing herd. 

One I behold who, 'cross the foaming flood, 
Leaps with a bound of graceful hardihood ; 
Another, high on that green ledge ; — he gained 
The tempting spot with every sinew strained ; 
And downward thence a knot of grass he throws, 
Pood for his beasts in time of winter snows. 
— ^Par diflerent life from what Tradition hoar 
Transmits of happier lot in times of yore ! 
Then Summer lingered long ; and honey flowed 
Trom out the rocks, the wild bees' safe abode : 
Continual waters welling cheered the waste. 
And plants were wholesome, now of deadly taste : 
INor Winter yet his frozen stores had piled. 
Usurping where the fairest herbage smiled : 
Nor Hunger driven the herds from pastures bare^ 
To climb the treacherous clifl*s for scanty fare. 
Then the milk-thistle flourished through the land, 
And forced the fuU-swoln udder to demand. 
Thrice every day, the pail and welcome hand. 
Thus does the father to his children tell 
Of banished bliss, by fancy loved too well. 
Alas ! that human guilt provoked the rod 
Of angry ]N"ature to avenge her Grod. 
Still, Nature, ever just, to him imparts 
Joys only given to uncorrupted hearts. 

'Tis morn : with gold the verdant mountain glows ; 
More high, the snowy peaks with hues of rose. 



34 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Par-stretclied beneath the many-tinted hills^ 

A mighty waste of mist the valley fills, 

A solemn sea ! whose billows wide around 

Stand motionless, to awful silence bound : 

Pines, on the coast, through mist their tops uprear, 

That like to leaning masts of stranded ships appear. 

A single chasm, a gulf of gloomy blue. 

Grapes in the centre of the sea — and, through 

That dark mysterious gulf ascending, sound 

Innumerable streams with roar profound. 

Mount through the nearer vapours notes of birds. 

And merry flageolet ; the low of herds. 

The bark of dogs, the heifer's tinkling bell, 

Talk, laughter, and perchance a church-tower knell : 

Think not, the peasant from aloft has gazed 

And heard with heart unmoved, with soul unraised : 

Nor is his spirit less enrapt, nor less 

Alive to independent happiness, 

Then, when he lies, out-stretched, at even-tide 

Upon the fragrant mountain's purple side : 

Tor as the pleasures of his simple day 

Beyond his native valley seldom stray, 

]N'ought round its darling precincts can he find 

But brings some past enjoyment to his mind ; 

"While Hope, reclining upon Pleasure's urn, 

Binds her wild wreaths, and whispers his return. 

Once, Man entirely free, alone and wild, 
"Was blest as free — for he was Nature's child. 
He, all superior but his Grod disdained, 
Walked none restraining, and by none restrained : 
Confessed no law but what his reason taught, 
Did all he wished, and wished but what he ought. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 35 

As man in his primeval dower arrayed 
The image of his glorious Sire displayed, 
Even so, by faithful Nature guarded, here 
The traces of primeval Man appear ; 
The simple dignity no forms debase ; 
The eye sublime, and surly lion-grace : 
The slave of none, of beasts alone the lord. 
His book he prizes, nor neglects his sword ; 
"Well taught by that to feel his rights, prepared 
"With this "the blessings he enjoys to guard." 

And, as his native hills encircle ground 
For many a marvellous victory renowned, 
The work of Freedom daring to oppose, 
"With few in arms^, innumerable foes. 
When to those famous fields his steps are led. 
An unknown power connects him with the dead : 
For images of other worlds are there ; 
Awful the light, and holy is the air. 
Fitfully, and in flashes, through his soul. 
Like sun-lit tempests, troubled transports roll ; 
His bosom heaves, his Spirit towers amain, 
Eeyond the senses and their little reign. 

And oft, when that dread vision hath past by. 
He holds with Grod himself communion high. 
There where the peal of swelling torrents fills 
The sky-roofed temple of the eternal hills ; 

* Alluding to several battles which the Swiss in very small numbers 
have gained over their oppressors, the house of Austria ; and in particular, 
to one fought at Nseffels near Glarus, where three hundred and thirty- 
men are said to have defeated an army of between fifteen and twenty 
thousand Austrians. Scattered over the valley are to be found eleven 
stones, with this inscription, 1388, the year the battle was fought, mark- 
ing out, as I was told upon the spot, the several places where the Aus- 
trians, attempting to make a stand, were repulsed anew, 

D 2 



36 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Or wHen, upon the mountain's silent brow 

[Reclined, he sees, above bim and below. 

Bright stars of ice and azure fields of snow ; 

"While needle peaks of granite shooting bare 

Tremble in ever-varying tints of air. 

And when a gathering weight of shadows brown 

Falls on the valleys as the sun goes down ; 

And Pikes, of darkness named and fear and storms^, 

Uplift in quiet their illumined forms, 

In sea-like reach of prospect round him spread, 

Tinged like an angel's smile all rosy red — 

Awe in his breast with holiest love unites, 

And the near heavens impart their own delights. 

When downward to his winter hut he goes. 
Dear and more dear the lessening circle grows ; 
That hut which on the hills so oft employs 
His thoughts, the central point of all his joys. 
And as a swallow, at the hour of rest. 
Peeps often ere she darts into her nest. 
So to the homestead, where the grandsire tends 
A little prattling child, he oft descends. 
To glance a look upon the well-matched pair ; 
Till storm and driving ice blockade him there. 
There, safely guarded by the woods behind, 
He hears the chiding of the baffled wind. 
Hears Winter calling all his terrors round. 
And, blest within himself, he shrinks not from the sound. 

Through Nature's vale his homely pleasures glide, 
Unstained by envy, discontent, and pride; 
The bound of all his vanity, to deck, 
With one bright bell, a favourite heifer's neck ; 

* As Schreck-Horn, the pike of terror; Wetter-Horn, the pike of storms, 
&c.,&c. 



DESCEIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 37 

"Well pleased upon some simple annual feast, 

Eemembered half the year and hoped the rest, 

If dairj-produce, from his inner hoard, 

Of thrice ten summers dignifj the board. 

— Alas ! in every clime a flying ray 

Is all we have to cheer our v^intry way ; 

And here the unwilling mind^may more than trace 

The general sorrows of the human race : 

The churlish gales of penury, that blow 

Cold as the north-wind o'er a waste of snow. 

To them the gentle groups of bliss deny 

That on the noon-day bank of leisure lie. 

Tet more ; — compelled by Powers which only deign 

That solitary man disturb their reign, 

Powers that support an unremitting strife 

"With all the tender charities of life. 

Pull oft the father, when his sons have grown 

To manhood, seems their title to disown ; 

And from his nest amid the storms of heaven 

Drives, eagle-like, those sons as he was driven ; 

With stern composure watches to the plain — 

And never, eagle-like, beholds again! 

When long- familiar joys are all resigned. 
Why does their sad remembrance haunt the mind ? 
Lo ! where through flat Batavia's willowy groves. 
Or by the lazy Seine, the exile roves ; 
O'er the curled waters Alpine measures swell, 
And search the aflections to their inmost cell ; 
Sweet poison spreads along the listener's veins, 
Turning past pleasures into mortal pains ; 
Poison, which not a frame of steel can brave. 
Bows his young head with sorrow to the grave^. 

* The well-known effect of the famous air, called in French Eanz de 
Vaches, upon the Swiss troops. 



38 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Gray lark of hope, thy silent song resume ! 
Te flattering eastern lights, once more the hills illume ! 
Fresh gales and dews of life's delicious morn, 
And thou, lost fragrance of the heart, return ! 
Alas ! the little joy to man allowed 
Fades like the lustre of an evening cloud ; 
Or like the beauty in a flower installed. 
Whose season was, and cannot be recalled. 
Tet, when opprest by sickness, grief, or care. 
And taught that pain is pleasure's natural heir, 
"We still confide in more than we can know ; 
Death would be else the favourite friend of woe. 

'Mid savage rocks, and seas of snow that shine, 
Between interminable tracts of pine. 
Within a temple stands an awful shrine, 
By an uncertain light revealed, that falls 
On the mute Image and the troubled walls. 
Oh ! give not me that eye of hard disdain 
That views, undimmed, Einsiedlen's ^ wretched fane. 
While ghastly faces through the gloom appear, 
Abortive joy, and hope that works in fear ; 
While prayer contends with silenced agony, 
Surely in other thoughts contempt may die. 
If the sad grave of human ignorance bear 
One flower of hope — oh, pass and leave it there ! 

The tall sun, pausing on an Alpine spire. 
Flings o'er the wilderness a stream of fire : 
Now meet we other pilgrims ere the day 
Close on the remnant of their weary way ; 

* This shrine is resorted to, from a hope of relief, by multitudes, from 
every corner of the Catholic world, labouring under mental or bodily 
afl3ictions. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 39 

"While they are drawing toward the sacred floor 
Where, so they fondly think, the worm shall gnaw no 

more. 
How gaily murmur and how sweetly taste 
The fountains ^ reared for them amid the waste ! 
Their thirst they slake: — they wash their toil-worn feet, 
And some with tears of joy each other greet. 
Yes, I must see you when ye first behold 
Those holy turrets tipped with evening gold, 
In that glad moment will for you a sigh 
Be heaved, of charitable sympathy ; 
In that glad moment when your hands are prest 
In mute devotion on the thankful breast ! 

Last, let us turn to Chamouny that shields 
With rocks and gloomy woods her fertile fields : 
Pive streams of ice amid her cots descend. 
And with wild flowers and blooming orchards blend ; — 
A scene more fair than what the Q-recian feigns 
Of purple lights and ever- vernal plains ; 
Here all the seasons revel hand in hand : 
'Mid lawns and shades by breezy rivulets fanned. 
They sport beneath that mountain's matchless height 
That holds no commerce with the summer night. 
[From age to age, throughout his lonely bounds 
The crash of ruin fitfully resounds ; 
Appalling havoc ! but serene his brow, 
Where daylight lingers on perpetual snow ; 
Glitter the stars above, and all is black below. 

What marvel then if many a Wanderer sigh, 
While roars the sullen Arve in anger by, 

* Rude fountains built and covered with sheds for the accommodation 
of the Pilgrims, in their ascent of the mountain. 



40 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

That not for thj reward, unrivalled Vale ! 
"Waves the ripe harvest in the autumnal gale ; 
That thou, the slave of slaves, art doomed to pine 
And droop, while no Italian arts are thine. 
To soothe or cheer, to soften or refine. 

Hail Freedom ! whether it was mine to stray, 
With shrill winds whistling round my lonely way, 
On the bleak sides of Cumbria's heath-clad moors, 
Or where dank sea-weed lashes Scotland's shores ; 
To scent the sweets of Piedmont's breathing rose, 
And orange gale that o'er Lugano blows ; 
Still have I found, where Tyranny prevails, 
That virtue languishes and pleasure fails, 
"While the remotest hamlets blessings share 
In thy loved presence known, and only there ; 
jreart-hles^mgs — outward treasures too which the eye 
Of the sun peeping through the clouds can spy. 
And every passing breeze will testify. 
There, to the porch, belike with jasmine bound 
Or woodbine wreaths, a smoother path is wound ; 
The housewife there a brighter garden sees, 
"Where hum on busier wing her happy bees ; 
On infant cheeks there fresher roses blow ; 
And grey-haired men look up wdth livelier brow, — 
To greet the traveller needing food and rest ; 
Housed for the night, or but a half-hour's guest. 

And oh, fair France ! though now the traveller sees 
Thy three-striped banner fluctuate on the breeze ; 
Though martial songs have banished songs of love. 
And nightingales desert the village grove, 
Scared by the fife and rumbling drum's alarms, 
And the short thunder, and the flash of arms ; 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 41 

That cease not till niglit falls, wlien far and nigh, 
Sole sound, the Sourd "^ prolongs his mournful cry ! 
— Yet, hast thou found that Freedom spreads her power 
Beyond the cottage-hearth, the cottage-door : 
All nature smiles, and owns beneath her eyes 
Her fields peculiar, and peculiar skies. 
Yes, as I roamed where Loiret's waters glide 
Through rustling aspens heard from side to side, 
"When from October clouds a milder light 
Pell where the blue flood rippled into white ; 
Methought from every cot the watchful bird 
Crowed with ear-piercing power till then unheard ; 
Each clacking mill, that broke the murmuring streams, 
Eocked the charmed thought in more delightful dreams; 
Chasing those pleasant dreams, the falling leaf 
Awoke a fainter sense of moral grief ; 
The measured echo of the distant flail 
"Wound in more welcome cadence down the vale ; 
With more majestic course f the water rolled. 
And ripening foliage shone with richer gold. 
— But foes are gathering — Liberty must raise 
Bed on the hills her beacon's far-seen blaze ; 
Must bid the tocsin ring from tower to tower ! — 
IN'earer and nearer comes the trying hour ! 
Eejoice, brave Land, though pride's perverted ire 
Kouse hell's own aid, and wrap thy fields in fire : 
Lo, from the flames a great and glorious birth ; 
As if a new-made heaven were hailing a new earth ! 

* An insect so called, which emits a short, melancholy cry, heard at the 
close of the summer evenings, on the banks of the Loire. 

t The duties upon many parts of the French rivers were so exorbitant, 
that the poorer people, deprived of the benefit of water carriage, were 
obliged to transport their goods by land. 



42 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

— All cannot be : the promise is too fair 
'For creatures doomed to breathe terrestrial air : 
Yet not for this will sober reason frown 
Upon that promise, nor the hope disown ; 
She knows that only from high aims ensue 
Rich guerdons, and to them alone are due. 

Grreat God ! by whom the strifes of men are weighed 
In an impartial balance, give thine aid 
To the just cause ; and, oh ! do thou preside 
Over the mighty stream now spreading wide : 
So shall its waters, from the heavens supplied 
In copious showers, from earth by wholesome springs, 
Brood, o'er the long-parched lands with Nile-like wings ! 
And grant that every sceptred child of clay 
"Who cries presumptuous, " Here the flood shall stay," 
May in its progress see thy guiding hand. 
And cease the acknowledged purpose to withstand ; 
Or, swept in anger from the insulted shore. 
Sink with his servile bands, to rise no more ! 

To-night, my Friend, within this humble cot 
Be scorn and fear and hope alike forgot 
In timely sleep ; and wheu, at break of day. 
On the tall peaks the glistening sunbeams play, 
With a light heart our course we may renew. 
The first whose footsteps print the mountain dew. 

1791 & 1792. 






43 
YII. 

LINES 



Left npon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near the lake of Esthwaite, 
on a desolate part of the shore, commanding a beautiful prospect. 

[Composed in part at school at Hawkshead. The tree has dis- 
appeared, and the slip of Common on which it stood, that ran 
parallel to the lake, and lay open to it, has long been enclosed ; 
so that the road has lost much of its attraction. This spot 
was my favourite walk in the evenings during the latter part 
of my school-time. The individual whose habits and cha- 
racter are here given, was a gentleman of the neighbourhood, 
a man of talent and learning, who had been educated at one 
of our Universities, and returned to pass his time in seclusion 
on his own estate. He died a bachelor in middle age. 
Induced by the beauty of the prospect, he built a small 
summer-house on the rocks above the peninsula on which the 
ferry-house stands. This property afterwards passed into the 
hands of the late Mr. Curwen. The site was long ago pointed 
out by Mr. West in his Gruide, as the pride of the lakes, and 
now goes by the name of *'The Station." So much used I to 
be delighted with the view from it, while a little boy, that 
some years before the first pleasure-house was built, I led 
thither from Hawkshead a youngster about my own age, an 
Irish boy, who was a servant to an itinerant conjuror. My 
motive was to witness the pleasure I expected the boy would 
receive from the prospect of the islands below and the inter- 
mingling water. I was not disappointed ; and I hope the 
fact, insignificant as it may appear to some, may be thought 
worthy of note by others who may cast their eye over these 
notes.] 

'Nay, Traveller ! rest. This lonely Yew-tree stands 
Ear from all human dwelling : what if here 
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb ? 
What if the bee love not these barren boughs ? 
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves, 
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind 
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy. 



44 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 



■ "Who he was 



That piled these stones and with the mossy sod 

First covered, and here taught this aged Tree 

"With its dark arms to form a circling bower, 

I well remember. — He was one who owned 

No common soul. In youth by science nursed, 

And led by nature into a wild scene 

Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth 

A favoured Being, knowing no desire 

Which genius did not hallow ; 'gainst the taint 

Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate. 

And scorn, — against all enemies prepared. 

All but neglect. The world, for so it thought. 

Owed him no service ; wherefore he at once 

With indignation turned himself away, 

And with the food of pride sustained his soul 

In solitude. — Stranger ! these gloomy boughs 

Had charms for him ; and here he loved to sit. 

His only visitants a straggling sheep. 

The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper : 

And on these barren rocks, with fern and heath. 

And juniper and thistle, sprinkled o'er. 

Fixing his downcast eye, he many an hour 

A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here 

An emblem of his own unfruitful life : 

And, lifting up his head, he then would gaze 

On the more distant scene, — how lovely 'tis 

Thou seest, — and he would gaze till it became 

Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain 

The beauty, still more beauteous ! Nor, that time, 

When nature had subdued him to herself. 

Would he forget those Beings to whose minds. 

Warm from the labours of benevolence. 



DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES, &c. 45 

The world, and human life, appeared a scene 

Of kindred loveliness : then he would sigh, 

Inly disturbed^ to think that others felt 

"What he must never feel : and so, lost Man ! 

On visionary views would fancy feed, 

Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale 

He died, — this seat his only monument. 

If Thou be one whose heart the holy forms 
Of young imagination have kept pure. 
Stranger! henceforth be warned ; and know that pride, 
Howe'er disguised in its own majesty. 
Is littleness ; that he, who feels contempt 
Tor any living thing, hath faculties 
"Which he has never used ; that thought with him 
Is in its infancy. The man whose eye 
Is ever on himself doth look on one, 
The least of Nature's works, one who might move 
The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds 
Unlawful, ever. O be wiser. Thou ! 
Instructed that true knowledge leads to love ; 
True dignity abides with him alone 
"Who, in the silent hour of inward thought. 
Can still suspect, and still revere himself, 
In lowliness of heart. 

1795. 



46 



yiir. 



GUILT AND SOEEOW; 

OR, 

INCIDENTS UPON SALISBURY PLAIN. 

[Unwilling to be unnecessarily particular, I have assigned this poem 
to the dates 1793 and '94 ; but in fact much of the ''Female 
Vagrant's" story was composed at least two years before. All 
that relates to her sufferings as a sailor's wife in America, and 
her condition of mind during her voyage home, were faithfully 
taken from the report made to me of her own case by a friend 
who had been subjected to the same trials and affected in the 
same way. Mr. Coleridge, when I first became acquainted 
with him, was so much impressed with this poem, that it 
would have encouraged me to publish the whole as it then 
stood ; but the mariner's fate appeared to me so tragical as to 
require a treatment more subdued and yet more strictly 
applicable in expression than I had at first given to it. This 
fault was corrected nearly fifty years afterwards, when I 
determined to publish the whole. It may be worth while to 
remark, that, though the incidents of this attempt do only in 
a small degree produce each other, and it deviates accordingly 
from the general rule by which narrative pieces ought to be 
governed, it is not therefore wanting in continuous hold upon 
the mind, or in unity, which is effected by the identity of moral 
interest that places the two personages upon the same footing 
in the reader s sympathies. My rambles over many parts of 
Salisbury Plain, put me, as mentioned in the preface, upon 
■writing this poem, and left on my mind imaginative impres- 
sions the force of which I have felt to this day. From that 
district I proceeded to Bath, Bristol, and so on to the banks 
of the Wye, where I took again to travelling on foot. In 
remembrance of that part of my journey, which was in '93, I 
began the verses — "Five years have passed."] 



ADVERTISEMENT, 

PREFIXED TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS POEM, 
PUBLISHED IN 1842. 

Not less than one-third of the following poem, though it has 
from time to time been altered in the expression, was pub- 
lished so far back as the year 1798; under the title of ''The 



GUILT AND SOREOW. 47 

Female Vagrant." The extract is of such length that an 
apology seems to be required for reprinting it here : but it was 
necessary to restore it to its original position, or the rest would 
have been unintelligible. The whole was written before the 
close of the year 1794, and I will detail, rather as matter of 
literary biography than for any other reason, the circumstances 
under which it was produced. 

During the latter part of the summer of 1793, having passed 
a month in the Isle of Wight, in view of the fleet which was 
then preparing for sea off Portsmouth at the commencement of 
the war, I left the place with melancholy forebodings. The 
American war was still fresh in memory. The struggle which 
was beginning, and which many thought would be brought to a 
speedy close by the irresistible arms of Great Britain being 
added to those of the allies, I was assured in my own mind 
would be of long continuance, and productive of distress and 
misery beyond all possible calculation. This conviction was 
pressed upon me by having been a witness, during a long resi- 
dence in revolutionary France, of the spirit which prevailed in 
that country. After leaving the Isle of Wight, I spent two 
days in wandering on foot over Salisbury Plain, which, though 
cultivation was then widely spread through parts of it, had 
upon the whole a still more impressive appearance than it now 
retains. 

The monuments and traces of antiquity, scattered in abun- 
dance over that region, led me unavoidably to compare what 
we know or guess of those remote times with certain aspects of 
modern society, and with calamities, principally those conse- 
quent upon war, to which, more than other classes of men, the 
poor are subject. In those reflections, joined with particular 
facts that had come to my knowledge, the following stanzas 
originated. 

In conclusion, to obviate some distraction in the minds of 
those who are well acquainted with Salisbury Plain, it may be 
proper to say, that of the features described as belonging to it, 
one or two are taken from other desolate parts of England. 



48 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

I. 

A Trayellee on tlie skirt of Sarum's Plain 

Pursued his vagrant way, with feet half bare ; 

Stooping his gait, but not as if to gain 

Help from the staff he bore ; for mien and air 

"Were hardj, though his cheek seemed worn with care 

Both of the time to come, and time long fled : 

Down fell in straggling locks his thin grey hair ; 

A coat he wore of military red 

But faded, and stuck o'er with many a patch and shred. 



"While thus he journeyed, step by step led on. 

He saw and passed a stately inn, full sure 

That welcome in such house for him was none. 

No board inscribed the needy to allure 

Hung there, no bush proclaimed to old and poor 

And desolate, "Here you will find a friend!" 

The pendent grapes glittered above the door ; — ■ 

On he must pace, perchance 'till night descend. 

Where'er the dreary roads their bare white lines extend. 



The gathering clouds grow red with stormy fire. 
In streaks diverging wide and mounting high ; 
That inn he long had passed ; the distant spire, 
Which oft as he looked back had fixed his eye, 
Was lost, though still he looked, in the blank sky. 
Perplexed and comfortless he gazed around, 
And scarce could any trace of man descry. 
Save cornfields stretched and stretching without bound; 
But where the sower dwelt was nowhere to be found. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 49 

IV. 

No tree was there, no meadow's pleasant green, 
"No brook to wet his lip or soothe his ear ; 
Long files of corn-stacks here and there were seen, 
But not one dwelling-place his heart to cheer. 
Some labourer, thought he, may perchance be near ; 
And so he sent a feeble shout — in vain ; 
No voice made answer, he could only hear 
Winds rustling over plots of unripe grain, 
Or whistling thro' thin grass along the unfurrowed 
plain. 

V. 

Long had he fancied each successive slope 
Concealed some cottage, whither he might turn 
And rest ; but now along heaven's darkening cope 
The crows rushed by in eddies, homeward borne. 
Thus warned he sought some shepherd's spreading thorn 
Or hovel from the storm to shield his head. 
But sought in vain ; for now, all wild, forlorn. 
And vacant, a huge waste around him spread ; 
The wet cold ground, he feared, must be his only bed. 



And be it so — for to the chill night shower 
And the sharp wind his head he oft hath bared ; 
A Sailor he, who many a wretched hour 
Hath told ; for, landing after labour hard, 
Pull long endured in hope of just reward. 
He to an armed fleet was forced away 
. By seamen, who perhaps themselves had shared 
Like fate ; was hurried off, a helpless prey, 
' Grainst all that in Ms heart, or theirs perhaps, said nay. 



50 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 



Tor years the work of carnage did not cease, 
And death's dire aspect daily he surveyed, 
Death's minister; then came his glad release. 
And hope returned, and pleasure fondly made 
Her dwelling in his dreams. By Fancy's aid 
The happy husband flies, his arms to throw 
E-ound his wife's neck ; the prize of victory laid 
In her full lap, he sees such sweet tears flow 
As if thenceforth nor pain nor trouble she could know. 



Vain hope ! for fraud took all that he had earned. 
The lion roars and gluts his tawny brood 
Even in the desert's heart ; but he, returned. 
Bears not to those he loves their needful food. 
His home approaching, but in such a mood 
That from his sight his children might have run, 
He met a traveller, robbed him, shed his blood ; 
And when the miserable work was done 
He fled, a vagrant since, the murderer's fate to shun. 



From that day forth no place to him could be 
So lonely, but that thence might come a pang 
Brought from without to inward misery. 
Now, as he plodded on, with sullen clang 
A sound of chains along the desert rang ; 
He looked, and saw upon a gibbet high 
A human body that in irons swang, 
Uplifted by the tempest whirling by ; 
And, hovering, round it often did a raven fly. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 51 

X. 

It was a spectacle which none might view, 

In spot so savage, but with shuddering pain ; 

JN'or only did for him at once renew 

All he had feared from man, but roused a train 

Of the mind's phantoms, horrible as vain. 

The stones, as if to cover him from day, 

Rolled at his back along the living plain ; 

He fell, and without sense or motion lay ; 

But, when the trance was gone, feebly pursued his way. 



As one whose brain habitual phrensy fires 

Owes to the fit in which his soul hath tossed 

Profounder quiet, when the fit retires, 

Even so the dire phantasma which had crossed 

His sense, in sudden vacancy quite lost. 

Left his mind still as a deep evening stream, 

Nor, if accosted now, in thought engrossed, 

Moody, or inly troubled, would he seem 

To traveller who might talk of any casual theme. 



Hurtle the clouds in deeper darkness piled, 
Gone is the raven timely rest to seek ; 
He seemed the only creature in the wild 
On whom the elements their rage might wreak ; 
Save that the bustard, of those regions bleak 
Shy tenant, seeing by the uncertain light 
A man there wandering, gave a mournful shriek, 
And half upon the ground, with strange afiright, 
Forced hard against the wind a thick unwieldy flight. 

E 2 



52 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

XIII. 

All, all was cheerless to the horizon's hound ; 
The weary eye — which, wheresoe'er it strays, 
Marks nothing but the red sun's setting round. 
Or on the earth strange lines, in former days 
Left by gigantic arms — at length surveys 
What seems an antique castle spreading wide ; 
Hoary and naked are its walls, and raise 
Their brow sublime : in shelter there to bide 
He turned, while rain poured down smoking on every 
side. 

XIV. 

Pile of Stone-henge ! so proud to hint yet keep 
Thy secrets, thou that lov'st to stand and hear 
The Plain resounding to the whirlwind's sweep. 
Inmate of lonesome Nature's endless year; 
Even if thou saw'st the giant wicker rear 
Por sacrifice its throngs of living men, 
Before thy face did ever wretch appear. 
Who in his heart had groaned with deadlier pain 
Than he who, tempest-driven, thy shelter now would 
gain. 

XY. 

Within that fabric of mysterious form. 
Winds met in conflict, each by turns supreme ; 
And, from the perilous ground dislodged, through storm 
And rain he wildered on, no moon to stream 
Prom gulf of parting clouds one friendly beam, 
Nor any friendly sound his footsteps led ; 
Once did the lightning's faint disastrous gleam 
Disclose a naked guide-post's double head. 
Sight which tho' lost at once a gleam of pleasure shed. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 53 

XVI. 

No swinging sign-board creaked from cottage elm 
To stay his steps with faintness overcome ; 
'Twas dark and void as ocean's watery realm 
Bearing with storms beneath night's starless gloom ; 
'No gipsy cowered o'er fire of furze or broom ; 
No labourer watched his red kiln glaring bright, 
Nor taper glimmered dim from sick man's room ; 
Along the waste no line of mournful light 
Prom lamp of lonely toll-gate streamed athwart the 
night. 

xvir. 
At length, though hid iu clouds, the moon arose ; 
The downs were visible — and now revealed 
A structure stands, which two bare slopes enclose. 
It was a spot, where, ancient vows fulfilled, 
Kind pious hands did to the Virgin build 
A lonely Spital, the belated swain 
From the night terrors of that waste to shield : 
But there no human being could remain, 
And now the w^alls are named the " Dead House" of 
the plain. 

XVIII. 

Though he had little cause to love the abode 

Of man, or covet sight of mortal face, 

Tet w^hen faint beams of light that ruin showed. 

How glad he vv^as at length to find some trace 

Of human shelter in that dreary place. 

Till to his flock the early shepherd goes, 

Here shall much-needed sleep his frame embrace. 

In a dry nook where fern the floor bestrews 

He lays his stiff'ened limbs, — his eyes begin to close ; 



51 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

XIX. 

"When hearing a deep sigh, that seemed to come 
[From one who mourned in sleep, he raised his head, 
And saw a woman in the naked room 
Outstretched, and turning on a restless bed : 
The moon a wan dead light around her shed. 
He waked her — spake in tone that would not fail, 
He hoped, to calm her mind ; but ill he sped, 
For of that ruin she had heard a tale 
Which now with freezing thoughts did all her powers 
assail ; 

XX. 

Had heard of one who, forced from storms to shroud, 
Pelt the loose walls of this decayed Eetreat 
E/Ock to incessant neighings shrill and loud, 
Winle his horse pawed the floor with furious heat ; 
Till on a stone, that sparkled to his feet. 
Struck, and still struck again, the troubled horse : 
The man half raised the stone with pain and sweat, 
Half raised, for well his arm might lose its force 
Disclosing the grim head of a late murdered corse. 

XXT. 

Such tale of this lone mansion she had learned 
And, when that shape, with eyes in sleep half drowned. 
By the moon's sullen lamp she first discerned, 
Cold stony horror all her senses bound. 
Her he addressed in words of cheering sound ; 
Eecovering heart, like answer did she make ; 
And well it was that, of the corse there found. 
In converse that ensued she nothing spake ; 
She knew not what dire pangs in him such tale could 
wake. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 55 

XXII. 

But soon his voice and words of kind intent 

Banished that dismal thought ; and now the wind 

In fainter howlings told its rage was spent : 

Meanwhile discourse ensued of various kind, 

"Which by degrees a confidence of mind 

And mutual interest failed not to create. 

And, to a natural sympathy resigned, 

In that forsaken building where they sate 

The Woman thus retraced her own untoward fate. 



XXIII. 

" By Derwent's side my father dwelt — a man 

Of virtuous life, by pious parents bred ; 

And I believe that, soon as I began 

To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed. 

And in his hearing there my prayers I said : 

And afterwards, by my good father taught, 

I read, and loved the books in which I read ; 

Tor books in every neighbouring house I sought. 

And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought. 



A little croft we owned — a plot of corn, 

A garden stored with peas, and mint, and thyme, 

And flowers for posies, oft on Sunday morn 

Plucked while the church bells rang their earliest chime. 

Can I forget our freaks at shearing time ! 

My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied ; 

The cowslip-gathering in June's dewy prime ; 

The swans that with white chests upreared in pride 

Rushing and racing came to meet me at the water-side! 



OQ POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

XXV. ' 

The staff I well remember which upbore 
The bending body of my active sire ; 
His seat beneath the honied sycamore 
"Where the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire ; 
"When market-morning came, the neat attire 
With which, though bent on haste, myself I decked ; 
Our watchful house-dog, that woald tease and tire 
The stranger till its barking-fit I checked ; 
The red-breast, known for years, which at my case- 
ment pecked. 

XXVI. 

The suns of twenty summers danced along, — 
Too little marked how fast they rolled away : 
But, through severe mischance and cruel wrong, 
My father's substance fell into decay : 
We toiled and struggled, hoping for a day 
When Fortune might put on a kinder look ; 
But vain were wishes, efibrts vain as they ; 
He from his old hereditary nook 
Must part ; the summons came ; — our final leave we 
took. 

xxvir. 
It was indeed a miserable hour 
When, from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed, 
Peering above the trees, the steeple tower 
That on his marriage day sweet music made ! 
Till then, he hoped his bones might there be laid 
Close by my mother in their native bowers : 
Bidding me trust in Grod, he stood and prayed ; — 
I could not pray i^through tears that fell in showers 
Glimmered our dear-loved home, alas ! no longer ours ! 



GUILT AND SORROW. 

4 



There was a Youth whom I had loved so long, 

That when I loved him not I cannot say : 

'Mid the green mountains many a thoughtless song 

"We two had sung, like gladsome birds in May ; 

"When we began to tire of childish, play, 

We seemed still more and more to prize each other ; 

We talked of marriage and our marriage day ; 

And I in truth did love him like a brother, 

For never could I hope to meet with such another. 



Two years were passed since to a distant town 
He had repaired to ply a gainful trade : 
What tears of bitter grief, till then unknown ! 
What tender vows, our last sad kiss delayed ! 
To him we turned : — we had no other aid : 
Like one revived, upon his neck I wept ; 
And her whom he had loved in joy, he said. 
He well could love in grief ; his faith he kept ; 
And in a quiet home once more my father slept. 



We lived in peace and comfort ; and were blest 
With daily bread, by constant toil supplied. 
Three lovely babes had lain upon my breast ; 
And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed. 
And knew not why. My happy father died. 
When threatened war reduced the children's meal : 
Thrice happy ! that for him the grave could hide 
The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel. 
And tears that flowed for ills which patience might 
not heal. 



58 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 



'Twas a hard change ; an evil time was come ; 

We had no hope, and no relief could gain : 

But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum 

Eeat round to clear the streets of want and pain. 

My husband's arms now only served to strain 

Me and his children hungering in his view ; 

Tn such dismay my prayers and tears were vain : 

To join those miserable men he flew, 

And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew. 



There were we long neglected, and we bore 

Much sorrow ere the fleet its anchor weighed ; 

Green fields before us, and our native shore, 

We breathed a pestilential air, that made 

Eavage for which no knell was heard. We prayed 

For our departure ; wished and wished — nor knew, 

'Mid that long sickness and those hopes delayed, 

That happier days we never more must view. 

The parting signal streamed — at last the land withdrew. 



But the calm summer season now was past. 

On as we drove, the equinoctial deep 

Ban mountains high before the howling blast, 

And many perished in the whirlwind's sweep. 

We gazed with terror on their gloomy sleep, 

Untaught that soon such anguish mast ensue. 

Our hopes such harvest of affliction reap. 

That we the mercy of the waves should rue : 

We reached the western world, a poor devoted crew. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 59 

XXXIV. 

The pains and plagues that on our heads came down, 

Disease and famine, agony and fear. 

In wood or wilderness, in camp or town. 

It would unman the firmest heart to hear. 

All perished — all in one remorseless year, 

Husband and children ! one by one, by sword 

And ravenous plague, all perished : every tear 

Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board 

A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored." 



Here paused she of all present thought forlorn, 
Nor voice, nor sound, that moment's pain expressed, 
Yet Nature, Avith excess of grief o'erborne, 
Prom her full eyes their watery load released. 
He too was mute ; and, ere her weeping ceased. 
He rose, and to the ruin's portal went. 
And saw the dawn opening the silvery east 
With rays of promise, north and southward sent ; 
And soon with crimson fire kindled the firmament. 



XXXVI. 

" come," he cried, " come, after weary night 
Of such rough storm, this happy change to view." 
So forth she came, and eastward looked ; the sight 
Over her brow like dawn of gladness threw ; 
Upon her cheek, to which its youthful hue 
Seemed to return, dried the last lingering tear. 
And from her grateful heart a fresh one drew : 
The whilst her comrade to her pensive cheer 
Tempered fit words of hope ; and the lark warbled near. 



60 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

XXXVII. 

They looked and saw a lengthening road, and wain 

That rang down a bare slope not far remote : 

The barrows glistered bright with drops of rain, 

Whistled the waggoner with merry note, 

The cock far off sounded his clarion throat ; 

But town, or farm, or hamlet, none they viewed, 

Only were told there stood a lonely cot 

A long mile thence. "While thither they pursued 

Their way, the Woman thus her mournful tale renewed. 



" Peaceful as this immeasurable plain 
Is now, by beams of dawning light imprest. 
In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main : 
The very ocean hath its hour of rest. 
I too forgot the heavings of my breast. 
How quiet 'round me ship and ocean were I 
As quiet all within me. I was blest. 
And looked, and fed upon the silent air 
Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair. 



Ah ! how unlike those late terrific sleeps, 
And groans that rage of racking famine spoke ; 
The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps. 
The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke, 
The shriek that from the distant battle broke. 
The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host 
Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke 
To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish tossed, 
Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost ! 



GUILT AND SORROW. 61 

XL. 

Some mighty gulf of separation past, 
I seemed transported to another world ; 
A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast 
The impatient mariner the sail unfurled. 
And, whistling, called the wind that hardly curled 
The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home 
And from all hope I was for ever hurled. 
For me — farthest from earthly port to roam 
"Was best, could I but shun the spot where man might 
come. 

XLI. 

And oft I thought (my fancy was so strong) 
That I, at last, a resting-place had found ; 
' Here will I dwell,' said I, ' my whole life long, 
"Roaming the illimitable waters round ; 
Here will I live, of all but heaven disowned, 
And end my days upon the peaceful flood.' — 
To break my dream the vessel reached its bound ; 
And homeless near a thousand homes I stood, 
And near a thousand tables pined and wanted food. 



No help I sought ; in sorrow turned adrift, 
"Was hopeless, as if cast on some bare rock ; 
Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift, 
Nor raised my hand at any door to knock. 
I lay where, with his drowsy mates, the cock 
From the cross-timber of an out-house hung : 
Dismally tolled, that night, the city clock ! 
At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung, 
Nor to the beggar's language could I lit my tongue. 



62 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

XLIII. 

So passed a second day ; and, when the third 
Was come, I tried in vain the crowd's resort. 
— In deep despair, by frightful wishes stirred, 
Near the sea-side I reached a ruined fort ; 
There, pains which nature could no more support, 
With blindness linked, did on my vitals fall ; 
And, after many interruptions short 
Of hideous sense, I sank, nor step could crawl : 
Unsought for was the help that did my life recaL 



Borne to a hospital, I lay with brain 
Drowsy and weak, and shattered memory ; 
I heard my neighbours in their beds complain 
Of many things w^hich never troubled me — 
Of feet still bustling round with busy glee, 
Of looks where common kindness had no part, 
Of service done with cold formality, 
Pretting the fever round the languid heart, 
And groans which, as they said, might make a dead 
man start. 

XLV. 

These things just served to stir the slumbering sense, 
Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised. 
With strength did memory return ; and, thence 
Dismissed, again on open day I gazed. 
At houses, men, and common light, amazed. 
The lanes I sought, and, as the sun retired. 
Came where beneath the trees a faggot blazed ; 
The travellers saw me weep, my fate inquired. 
And gave me food — and rest, more w^elcome, more 
desired. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 63 

XLVI. 

Eougli potters seemed they, trading soberly 

With paimiered asses driven from door to door ; 

But life of happier sort set forth to me, 

And other joys my fancy to allure — 

The bag-pipe dinning on the midnight moor 

In barn uplighted ; and companions boon, 

Well met from far with revelry secure 

Among the forest glades, while jocund June 

E/oUed fast along the sky his warm and genial moon. 



But ill they suited me — those journeys dark 
O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch ! 
To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark. 
Or hang on tip-toe at the lifted latch. 
The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match, 
The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill. 
And ear still busy on its nightly watch. 
Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill : 
Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding 
still. 

XLVIII. 

What could I do, unaided and unblest ? 

My father ! gone was every friend of thine : 

And kindred of dead husband are at best 

Small help ; and, after marriage such as mine. 

With little kindness would to me incline. 

Nor was I then for toil or service fit ; 

My deep-drawn sighs no eff'ort could confine ; 

In open air forgetful would I sit 

Whole hours, with idle arms in moping sorrow knit. 



64 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 



The roads I paced, I loitered througli the fields ; 

Contentedly, yet sometimes self-accused, 

Trusted my life to what chance bounty yields. 

Now coldly given, now utterly refused. 

The ground I for my bed have often used : 

But what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth. 

Is that I have my inner self abused, 

foregone the home delight of constant truth. 

And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth. 



Through tears the rising sun I oft have viewed. 

Through tears have seen him towards that world descend 

Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude : 

Three years a wanderer now my course 1 bend — 

Oh ! tell me whither — for no earthly friend 

Have I." — She ceased, and weeping turned away ; 

As if because her tale was at an end. 

She wept ; because she had no more to say 

Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay. 



True sympathy the Sailor's looks expressed, 

His looks — for pondering he was mute the while. 

Of social Order's care for wretchedness. 

Of Time's sure help to calm and reconcile, 

Joy's second spring and Hope's long-treasured smile, 

'Twas not for him to speak — a man so tried. 

Yet, to relieve her heart, in friendly style 

Proverbial words of comfort he applied, 

And not in vain, while they went pacing side by side. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 65 

III. 

Ere long, from heaps of turf, before their sight, 
Together sraoking in the sun's slant beam, 
Bise various wreaths that into one unite 
Which high and higher mounts with silver gleam : 
Fair spectacle, — but instantly a scream 
Thence bursting shrill did all remark prevent ; 
They paused, and heard a hoarser voice blaspheme. 
And female cries. Their course they thither bent, 
And met a man who foamed with anger vehement. 



A woman stood with quivering lips and pale, 
And, pointing to a little child that lay 
Stretched on the ground, began a piteous tale ; 
How in a simple freak of thoughtless play 
He had provoked his father, who straightway. 
As if each blow were deadlier than the last, 
Struck the poor innocent. Pallid with dismay 
The Soldier's "Widow heard and stood aghast ; 
And stern looks on the man her grey-haired Comrade 
cast. 

LIV. 

His voice with indignation rising high 

Such further deed in manhood's name forbade ; 

The peasant, wild in passion, made reply 

"With bitter insult and revilings sad ; 

Asked him in scorn what business there he had ; 

What kind of plunder he was hunting now ; 

The gallows would one day of him be glad ; — • 

Though inward anguish damped the Sailor's brow. 

Yet calm he seemed as thoughts so poignant would allow. 

VOL. I. F 



66 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

LV. 

Softly he stroked the child, who lay outstretched 

With face to earth ; and, as the boy turned round 

His battered head, a groan the Sailor fetched 

As if he saw — there and upon that ground — 

Strange repetition of the deadly wound 

He had himself inflicted. Through his brain 

At once the griding iron passage found ; 

Deluge of tender thoughts then rushed amain, 

JN'or could his sunken eyes the starting tear restrain. 



Within himself he said — What hearts have we ! 
The blessing this a father gives his child ! 
Yet happy thou, poor boy ! compared with me, 
Suffering not doing ill — fate far more mild. 
The stranger's looks and tears of wrath beguiled 
The father, and relenting thoughts awoke ; 
He kissed his son — so all was reconciled. 
Then, with a voice which inward trouble broke 
Ere to his lips it came, the Sailor them bespoke. 



LVII. 

" Bad is the world, and hard is the world's law 
Even for the man who wears the warmest fleece ; 
Much need have ye that time more closely draw 
The bond of nature, all unkindness cease. 
And that among so few there still be peace : 
Else can ye hope but with such numerous foes 
Tour pains shall ever with your years increase ? "— 
While from his heart the appropriate lesson flows, 
A correspondent calm stole gently o'er his woes. 



GUILT AND SORROW. 67 

LVIII. 

forthwith the pair passed on ; and down tliej look 
Into a narrow valley's pleasant scene 
AVhere wreaths of vapour tracked a winding brook, 
That babbled on through groves and meadows green ; 
A low-roofed house peeped out the trees between ; 
The dripping groves resound with cheerful lays, 
And melancholy lowdngs intervene 
Of scattered herds, that in the meadow graze. 
Some amid lingering shade, some touched by the sun's 
rays. 

LIX. 

They saw and heard, and, winding with the road, 

Down a thick wood, they dropt into the vale ; 

Comfort, by prouder mansions unbestowed, 

Their wearied frames, she hoped, would soon regale. 

Erelong they reached that cottage in the dale : 

It was a rustic inn ; — the board w^as spread, 

The milk-maid followed with her brimming pail. 

And lustily the master carved the bread, 

Kindly the housewife pressed, and they in comfort fed. 



Their breakfast done, the pair, though loth, must part ; 
Wanderers whose course no longer now agrees. 
She rose and bade farewell ! and, while her heart 
Struggled with tears nor could its sorrow ease, 
She left him there ; for, clustering round his knees, 
With his oak- staff the cottage children played ; 
And soon she reached a spot o'erhung with trees 
And banks of ragged earth ; beneath the shade 
Across the pebbly road a little runnel strayed. 



68 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

LXI. 

A cart and horse beside the rivulet stood ; 
Chequering the canvass roof the sunbeams shone. 
She saw the carman bend to scoop the flood 
As the wain fronted her, — wherein lay one, 
A pale-faced "Woman, in disease far gone. 
The carman wet her lips as well behoved ; 
Bed under her lean body there was none, 
Though even to die near one she most had loved 
She could not of herself those wasted limbs have moved. 



The Soldier's Widow learned with honest pain 

And homefelt force of sympathy sincere, 

"Why thus that worn-out wretch must there sustain 

The jolting road and morning air severe. 

The wain pursued its way ; and following near 

In pure compassion she her steps retraced 

Far as the cottage. " A sad sight is here," 

She cried aloud ; and forth ran out in haste 

The friends whom she had left but a few minutes past. 



While to the door with eager speed they ran, 
From her bare straw the Woman half upraised 
Her bony visage — gaunt and deadly wan ; 
No pity asking, on the group she gazed 
With a dim eye, distracted and amazed ; 
Then sank upon her straw with feeble moan. 
Pervently cried the housewife — " Grod be praised, 
I have a house that I can call my own ; 
Nor shall she perish there, untended and alone! " 



GUILT AND SOKROW. Qg 

LXIT. 

So in they bear her to the chimney seat, 
And busily, though yet with fear, untie 
Her garments, and, to warm her icy feet 
And chafe her temples, careful hands apply. 
JSTature reviving, with a deep-drawn sigh 
She strove, and not in vain, her 'head to rear ; 
Then said — " I thank you all ; if I must die. 
The God in heaven my prayers for you will hear ; 
Till now I did not think my end had been so near. 



" Barred every comfort labour could procure, 
Suffering what no endurance could assuage, 
I was compelled to seek my father's door, 
Though loth to be a burthen on his age. 
But sickness stopped me in an early stage 
Of my sad journey ; and within the wain 
They placed me — there to end life's pilgrimage, 
Unless beneath your roof I may remain : 
Por I shall never see my father's door again. 



"My life. Heaven knows, hath long been burthensome; 
But, if I have not meekly suffered, meek 
May my end be 1 Soon will this voice be dumb : 
Should child of mine e'er wander hither, speak 
Of me, say that the worm is on my cheek. — 
Torn from our hut, that stood beside the sea 
Near Portland lighthouse in a lonesome creek. 
My husband served in sad captivity 
On shipboard, bound till peace or death should set 
him free. 



70 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

LXVII. 

"A sailor's wife I knew a widow's cares, 

Yet two sweet little ones partook my bed ; 

Hope cheered my dreams, and to my daily prayers 

Our heavenly Pather granted each day's bread ; 

Till one was found by stroke of violence dead, 

"Whose body near our cottage chanced to lie; 

A dire suspicion drove us from our shed ; 

In vain to find a friendly face we try, 

'Nor could we live together those poor boys and I ; 



" Tor evil tongues made oath how on that day 

My husband lurked about the neighbourhood ; 

Now he had fled, and whither none could say, 

And he had done the deed in the dark wood — 

Near his own home ! — but he was mild and good ; 

Never on earth was gentler creature seen ; 

He'd not have robbed the raven of its food. 

My husband's loving kindness stood between 

Me and all worldly harms and wrongs however keen." 

LXIX. 

Alas ! the thing she told with labouring breath 

The Sailor knew too well. That wickedness 

His hand had wrought ; and when, in the hour of death, 

He saw his "Wife's lips move his name to bless 

"With her last words, unable to suppress 

His anguish, with his heart he ceased to strive ; 

And, weeping loud in this extreme distress. 

He cried — " Do pity me ! That thou shouldst live 

I neither ask nor wish— forgive me, but forgive !" 



GUILT AND SORROW. 71 

LXX. 

To tell tlie change that Voice within her wrought 

Nature by sign or sound made no essay ; 

A sudden joy surprised expiring thought, 

And every mortal pang dissolved away. 

Borne gently to a bed, in death she lay ; 

Tet still while over her the husband bent, 

A look was in her face which seemed to say, 

" Be blest ; by sight of thee from heaven was sent 

Peace to my parting soul, the fulness of content." 



She slept in peace, — his pulses throbbed and stopped. 

Breathless he gazed upon her face, — then took 

Her hand in his, and raised it, but both dropped, 

"When on his own he cast a rueful look. 

His ears were never silent ; sleep forsook 

His burning eyelids stretched and stiff as lead ; 

All night from time to time under him shook 

The floor as he lay shuddering on his bed ; 

And oft he groaned aloud, " Grod, that I were dead ! " 



The Soldier's "Widow lingered in the cot. 
And, when he rose, he thanked her pious care 
Through which his Wife, to that kind shelter brought. 
Died in his arms ; and with those thanks a prayer 
He breathed for her, and for that merciful pair. 
The corse interred, not one hour he remained 
Beneath their roof, but to the open air 
A burthen, now with fortitude sustained. 
He bore within a breast where dreadful quiet reigned. 



72 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

LXXIII. 

Confirmed of purpose, fearlessly prepared 

Por act and suffering, to the city straight 

He journeyed, and forthwith his crime declared : 

"And from your doom," he added, "now I wait, 

IN'or let it linger long, the murderer's fate." 

'Not ineffectual was that piteous claim : 

" welcome sentence which will end though late," 

He said, " the pangs that to my conscience came 

Out of that deed. My trust, Saviour ! is in thy name ! ' ' 

LXXIV. 

His fate was pitied. Him in iron case 
(E-eader, forgive the intolerable thought) 
They hung not : — no one on his form or face 
Could gaze, as on a show by idlers sought ; 
No kindred sufferer, to his death-place brought 
By lawless curiosity or chance, 
"When into storm the evening sky is wrought. 
Upon his swinging corse an eye can glance. 
And drop, as he once dropped, in miserable trance. 

1793-4. 



73 



THE BOEDEEEES. 

[Oi? this dramatic work I have little to say in addition to the 
short note which will be found at the end of the volume. It 
was composed at Racedown in Dorsetshire during the latter 
part of the year 1795, and in the course of the following- 
year. Had it been the work of a later period of life, it 
would have heen different in some respects from what it is 
now. The plot would have been something more complex, 
and a greater variety of characters introduced to relieve the 
mind from the pressure of incidents so mournful. The 
manners also would have been more attended to. My care 
was almost exclusively given to the passions and the characters, 
and the position in which the persons in the Drama stood 
relatively to each other, that the reader (for I had then no 
thought of the Stage) might be moved, and to a degree 
instructed, by lights penetrating somewhat into the depths of 
our nature. In this endeavour, I cannot think, upon a very 
late review, that I have failed. As to the scene and period of 
action, little more was required for my purpose than the 
absence of established law and government ; so that the agents 
might be at liberty to act on their own impulses. Nevertheless 
I do remember that, having a wish to colour the manners in 
some degree from local history more than my knowledge 
enabled me to do, I read Eedpath's *' History of the Borders," 
but found there nothing to my purpose. I once made an 
observation to Sir Walter Scott, in which he concurred, that 
it was difficult to conceive how so dull a book could be written 
on such a subject. Much about the same time, but a little 
after, Coleridge was employed in writing his tragedy of 
*' Remorse," and it happened that soon after, through one of 
the Mr. Pooles, Mr. Knight the actor heard that we had been 
engaged in writing Plays, and upon his suggestion mine was 
curtailed, and I believe Coleridge's also was offered to Mr. 
Harris, manager of Covent Garden. For myself, I had no 
hope nor even a wish (though a successful play would, in the 
then state of my finances, have been a most welcome piece of 
good fortune) that he should accept my performance ; so that 
I incurred no disappointment when the piece was judiciously 
returned as not calculated for the Stage. In this judgment I 



74 POEMS WEITTEN IN YOUTH. 

entirely concurred, and had it been otherwise, it was so natural 
for me to shrink from public notice, that any hope I might 
have had of success would not have reconciled me altogether to 
such an exhibition. Mr. C.'s Play was, as is well known, 
brought forward several years after through the kindness of 
Mr. Sheridan. In conclusion I may observe that while I was 
composing this Play I wrote a short essay illustrative of that 
constitution and those tendencies of human nature which make 
the apparently motiveless actions of bad men intelligible to 
careful observers. This was partly done with reference to the 
character of Oswald, and his persevering endeavour to lead 
the man he disliked into so heinous a crime ; but still more to 
preserve in my distinct remembrance what I had observed of 
transition in character, and the reflections I had been led to 
make during the time I was a witness of the changes through 
which the French Eevolution passed.] 



DRAMATIS PERSONJE. 



Forester. 

Eldred, a Peasant. 

Peasant, Pilgrims, &c. 

Idonea. 
Female Beggar. 
Eleanor, Wife to Eldred. 



Marmaduke. "1 

w^'T.; I Of the Band of 
Wallace. ) -r. i 
Laot. I Borderers. 

Lennox. J 

Herbert. 

WiLFRED,Servantto Marmaduke. 

Host. 

Scene, Borders of England and Scotland, 
Time, the Reign of Henry III. 

Readers already acquainted with my Poems will recognise, in 
the following composition, some eight or ten lines, which I have 
not scrupled to retain in the places where they originally stood. 
It is proper however to add, that they would not have been used 
elsewhere, if I had foreseen the time when I might be induced to 
publish this Tragedy. 

February 28, 1842. 



ACT I. 

Scene, road in a Wood, 
Wallace and Lacy. 



Lacy. Tlie troop will be impatient ; let us hie 
Back to our post, and strip the Scottish Eoray 



THE BORDERERS. 75 

Of their rich Spoil, ere they recross the Border. 
— Pity that our young Chief will have no part 
In this good service. 

TTal. Eather let us grieve 

That, in the undertaking which has caused 
His absence, he hath sought, whate'er his aim, 
Companionship with One of crooked ways, 
Erom whose perverted soul can come no good 
To our confiding, open-hearted, Leader. 

Zac^. True ; and, remembering how the Band have 
proved 
That Oswald finds small favour in our sight, 
Well may we wonder he has gained such power 
Over our much-loved Captain. 

Wal. I have heard 

Of some dark deed to which in early life 
His passion drove him— then a Voyager 
Upon the midland Sea. You knew his bearing 
In Palestine ? 

Zac^. "Where he despised alike 

Mahommedan and Christian. But enough ; 
Let us begone — the Band may else be foiled. 

[Exeunt. 
Enter Makmaduke and Wilfred. 

Wil. Be cautious, my dear Master ! 

Mar. I perceive 

That fear is like a cloak which old men huddle 
About their love, as if to keep it warm. 

Wil. Nay, but I grieve that we should part. This 
Stranger, 
Por such he is 

Mar. Your busy fancies, "Wilfred, 

Might tempt me to a smile ; but what of him ? 



76 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Wil. You know that you have saved his life. 

Mar. I know it. 

Wil. And that he hates you ! — Pardon me, perhaps 
That word was hasty. 

Mar, Yj ! no more of it. 

Wil. Dear Master ! gratitude 's a heavy burden 
To a proud SouL — Nobody loves this Oswald — 
Yourself, you do not love him. 

3Iar. I do more, 

I honour him. Strong feelings to his heart 
Are natural ; and from no one can be learnt 
More of man's thoughts and ways than his experience 
Has given him power to teach : and then for courage 
And enterprise — w^iat perils hath he shunned ? 
What obstacles hath he failed to overcome ? 
Answer these questions, from our common knowledge. 
And be at rest. 

Wil Oh, Sir! 

Mar. Peace, my good "Wilfred ; 

Eepair to Liddesdale, and tell the Band 
I shall be with them in two days, at farthest. 

WiL May He whose eye is over all protect you ! 

[Exit. 
Enter Oswald (a hunch of plants in his hand). 

Osw. This w^ood is rich in plants and curious simples. 

Mar. (looMng at them). The wild rose, and the 
poppy, and the nightshade : 
Which is your favourite, Oswald ? 

Osw> That which, while it is 

Strong to destroy, is also strong to heal — 

[Looking forward. 

JSTot yet in sight ! — We'll saunter here awhile ; 
They cannot mount the hill, by us unseen. 



THE BORDERERS. 77 

Mar, {a letter in Ms Tiand). It is no common thing 
when one like you 
Performs these delicate services, and therefore 
I feel myself much bounden to you, Oswald ; 
'Tis a strange letter this ! — Tou saw her write it ? 

Osw. And saw the tears with which she blotted it. 

Mar, And nothing less would satisfy him ? 

Osw, No less ; 

For that another in his Child's affection 
Should hold a place, as if 'twere robbery, 
He seemed to quarrel with the very thought. 
Besides, I know not what strange prejudice 
Is rooted in his mind ; this Band of ours. 
Which you've collected for the noblest ends, 
Along the confines of the Esk and Tweed 
To guard the Innocent — he calls us " Outlaws ; " 
And, for yourself, in plain terms he asserts 
This garb was taken up that indolence 
Might want no cover, and rapacity 
Be better fed. 

Mar. ISTe'er may I own the heart 

That cannot feel for one, helpless as he is. 

Osw. Thou know'st me for a Man not easily moved, 
Tet was I grievously provoked to think 
Of what I witnessed. 

Mar, This day will suffice 

To end her wrongs. 

Osw. But if the blind Man's tale 

Should yet be true ? 

Mar. Would it were possible ! 

Did not the soldier tell thee that himself. 
And others who survived the wreck, beheld 



T8 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

The Baron Herbert perisli in the waves 
Upon the coast of Cyprus ? 

Osw. Yes, even so, 

And I had heard the like before : in sooth 
The tale of this his quondam Barony 
Is cunningly devised ; and, on the back 
Of his forlorn appearance, could not fail 
To make the proud and vain his tributaries, 
And stir the pulse of lazy charity. 
The seignories of Herbert are in Devon ; 
"We, neighbours of the Esk and Tweed : 'tis much 
The Arch-Impostor— — 

Mar, Treat him gently, Oswald ; 

Though I have never seen his face, methinks. 
There cannot come a day when I shall cease 
To love him. I remember, when a Boy 
Of scarcely seven years' growth, beneath the Elm 
That casts its shade over our village school, 
'Twas my delight to sit and hear Idonea 
Bepeat her Father's terrible adventures, 
Till all the band of play-mates wept together ; 
And that was the beginning of my love. 
And, through all converse of our later years, 
An image of this old Man still was present, 
"When I had been most happy. Pardon me 
If this be idly spoken. 

Osw. See, they come. 

Two Travellers ! 

Mar {points). The woman is Idonea. 

Osw. And leading Herbert. 

Mar. We must let them pass — 

This thicket will conceal us. [They step aside. 



THE BORDERERS. 79 

Enter Idonea, leading Herbert hlind. 

Idon. Dear father, you sigh deeply ; ever since 
We left the willow shade by the brook-side, 
Tour natural breathing has been troubled. 

Her, Nay, 

You are too fearful ; yet must I confess. 
Our march of yesterday had better suited 
A firmer step than mine. 

Idon, That dismal Moor — 

In spite of all the larks that cheered our path, 
I never can forgive it : but how steadily 
You paced along, when the bewildering moonlight 
Mocked me with many a strange fantastic shape ! — 
I thought the Convent never would appear ; 
It seemed to move away from us : and yet. 
That you are thus the fault is mine ; for the air 
"Was soft and wai'm, no dew lay on the grass, 
And midway on the waste ere night had fallen 
I spied a Covert walled and roofed with sods — 
A miniature ; belike some Shepherd-boy, 
Who might have found a nothing-doing hour 
Heavier than work, raised it : within that hut 
We might have made a kindly bed of heath, 
And thankfully there rested side by side 
Wrapped in our cloaks, and, with recruited strength. 
Have hailed the morning sun. But cheerily, Pather, — 
That staff of yours, I could almost have heart 
To fling' t away from you : you make no use 
Of me, or of my strength ; — come, let me feel 
That you do press upon me. There — indeed 
Ton are quite exhausted. Let us rest awhile 
On this green bank. [He sits down. 



80 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Her. (after some time). Idonea, you are silent, 
And I divine the cause. 

Idon. Do not reproach me : 

I pondered patiently your wish and will 
When I gave way to your request ; and now, 
When I behold the ruins of that face, 
Those eyeballs dark — dark beyond hope of light, 
And think that they were blasted for my sake. 
The name of Marmaduke is blown away : 
Father, I would not change that sacred feeling 
For all this world can give, 

Ser. ^ay, be composed : 

Few minutes gone a faintness overspread 
My frame, and I bethought me of two things 
I ne'er had heart to separate — my grave. 
And thee, my Child 1 

Idon. Believe me, honoured Sire ! 
'Tis weariness that breeds these gloomy fancies. 
And you mistake the cause : you hear the woods 
E-esound with music, could you see the sun. 
And look upon the pleasant face of Nature 

Her, I comprehend thee — I should be as cheerful 
As if we two were twins ; two songsters bred 
In the same nest, my spring-time one with thine. 
My fancies, fancies if they be, are such 
As come, dear Child ! from a far deeper source 
Than bodily weariness. While here we sit 
I feel my strength returning. — The bequest 
Of thy kind Patroness, which to receive 
We have thus far adventured, will suffice 
To save thee from the extreme of penury ; 
But when thy Father must lie down and die. 
How wilt thou stand alone ? 



THE BORDERERS. 81 

Idon. Is he not strong ? 

Is he not valiant ? 

Her. Am I then so soon 
Porgotten ? have my warnings passed so quickly 
Out of thy mind ? My dear, my only, Child ; 
Thou wouldst be leaning on a broken reed — - 
This Marmaduke 

Idon. could you hear his voice : 

Alas ! you do not know him. He is one 
(I wot not what ill tongue has wronged him with you) 
All gentleness and love. His face bespeaks 
A deep and simple meekness : and that Soul, 
"Which with the motion of a virtuous act 
Plashes a look of terror upon guilt, 
Is, after conflict, quiet as the ocean. 
By a miraculous finger, stilled at once. 

Her. Unhappy Woman ! 

Idon. ^ay, it was my duty 

Thus much to speak ; but think not I forget — 
Dear Father ! how eould I forget and live — 
Tou and the story of that doleful night 
"When, Antioch blazing to her topmost towers, 
Tou rushed into the murderous flames, returned 
Elind as the grave, but, as you oft have told me, 
Clasping your infant Daughter to your heart. 

Her. Thy Mother too! — scarce had I gained the door, 
I caught her voice ; she threw herself upon me, 
I felt thy infant brother in her arms ; 
She saw my blasted face — a tide of soldiers 
That instant rushed between us, and I heard 
Her last death-shriek, distinct among a thousand. 

Idon. Nay, ^Father, stop not ; let me hear it all. 

Her. Dear Daughter ! precious relic of that time— 



82 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Tor mj old age, it dotli remain with thee 

To make it w^hat thou wilt. Thou hast been told, 

That when, on our return from Palestine, 

I found how mj domains had been usurped, 

I took thee in my arms, and we began 

Our wanderings together. Providence 

At length conducted us to Eossland, — there, 

Our melancholy story moved a Stranger 

To take thee to her home — and for myself. 

Soon after, 'the good Abbot of St. Cuthbert's 

Supplied my helplessness with food and raiment. 

And, as thou know'st, gave me that humble Cot 

Where now we dwell. — Por many years I bore 

Thy absence, till old age and fresh infirmities 

Exacted thy return, and our reunion. 

I did not think that, during that long absence. 

My Child, forgetful of the name of Herbert, 

Had given her love to a wild Preebooter, 

"Who here, upon the borders of the Tweed, 

Doth prey alike on two distracted Countries, 

Traitor to both. 

Idon, Oh, could you hear his voice ! 

I will not call on Heaven to vouch for me. 
But let this kiss speak w^hat is in my heart. 

Enter a Peasant. 

Fea. Grood morrow. Strangers ! If you want a Gruide, 
Let me have leave to serve you I 

Idon, My Companion 

Hath need of rest ; the sight of Hut or Hostel 
Would be most welcome. 

Fea, Ton white hawthorn gained, 

Tou will look down into a dell, and there 



THE BORDERERS. 83 

"Will see an ash from whicli a sign-board hangs ; 

The house is hidden by the shade. Old Man, 

Ton seem worn out with travel — shall I support you ? 

Her, I thank you ; but, a resting-place so near, 
'Twere wrong to trouble you. 

JBea, God speed you both. 

[Exit Peasant. 
Her. Idonea, we must part. Be not alarmed — 
'Tis but for a few days — a thought has struck me. 
Idon. That I should leave you at this house, and 
thence 
Proceed alone. ' It shall be so ; for strength 
Would fail you ere our journey's end be reached. 

[Exit Herbert supported hy Idonea. 

Re-enter Marmaduke and Oswald. 

Mar, This instant will we stop him 

Osw, Be not hasty, 

For, sometimes, in despite of my conviction. 
He tempted me to think the Story true ; 
'Tis plain he loves the Maid, and what he said 
That savoured of aversion to thy narae 
Appeared the genuine colour of his soul — 
Anxiety lest mischief should befal her 
After his death. 

Mar, I have been much deceived. 

Osw, But sure he loves the Maiden, and never love 
Could find delight to nurse itself so strangely. 
Thus to torment her with inventions ! — death — 
There must be truth in this. 

Mar. Truth in his story ! 

He must have felt it then, known what it was, 

a 2 



84 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

And in sucli wise to rack lier gentle heart 
Had been a tenfold cruelty. 

Osio, Strange pleasures 

Do we poor mortals cater for ourselves ! 
To see him thus provoke her tenderness 
With tales of weakness and infirmity ! 
I'd wager on his life for twenty years. 

Mar. We will not waste an hour in such a cause. 

Osiv. Why, this is noble ! shake her off at once. 

Mar. Her virtues are his instruments. — A Man 
Who has so practised on the world's cold sense, 
May well deceive his Child — what ! leave her thus, 
A prey to a deceiver ? — no — no — no — 
'Tis but a word and then 

Osw. Something is here 

More than we see, or whence this strong aversion ? 
Marmaduke ! I suspect unworthy tales 
Have reached his ear — you have had enemies. 

Mar. Enemies ! — of his own coinage. 

Osw. That may be, 

But wherefore slight protection such as you 
Have power to yield ? perhaps he looks elsewhere. — 
I am perplexed. 

Mar. What hast thou heard or seen ? 

Osw. No — no — the thing stands clear of mystery ; 
(As you have said) he coins himself the slander 
With which he taints her ear ; — for a plain reason ,* 
He dreads the presence of a virtuous man 
Like you ; he knows your eye would search his heart, 
Tour justice stamp upon his evil deeds 
The punishment they merit. All is plain : 
It cannot be — — 

Mar. What cannot be ? 



THE BORDERERS. 85- 

Osw, Tet that a Father 
Should in his love admit no rivalship, 
And torture thus the heart of his own Child 

Mar. Nay, you abuse my friendship ! 

Osw, Heaven forbid ! — 

There was a circumstance, trifling indeed — 
It struck me at the time — yet I believe 
I never should have thought of it again 
But for the scene which we by chance have witnessed. 

Mar, What is your meaning ? 

Osw, Two days gone I saw, 

Though at a distance and he was disguised, 
Hovering round Herbert's door, a man whose figure 
Eesembled much that cold voluptuary, 
The villain, Clifford. He hates you, and he knows 
Where he can stab you deepest. 

Mar, Clifford never 

Would stoop to skulk about a Cottage door — 
It could not be. 

Osw, And yet I now remember, 

That, when your praise was warm upon my tongue, 
And the blind Man was told how you had rescued 
A maiden from the ruffian violence 
Of this same Clifford, he became impatient 
And would not hear me. 

Mar, No — it cannot be — 
I dare not trust myself with such a thought — 
* Yet whence this strange aversion ? You are a man 
Not used to rash conjectures 

Osw, If you deem it 

A thing worth further notice, we must act 
With caution, sift the matter artfully. 

[Exeunt Marmaduke and Oswald. 



POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 



Scene, the door of the Hostel. 

Herbert, Idonea, and Host. 

Her. {seated) . As I am dear to jou, remember, Child ! 
This last request. 

Idon, You know me, Sire ; farewell ! 

Her. And are you going then? Come, come, Idonea, 
We must not part, — I have measured many a league 
"When these old limbs had need of rest, — and now 
I will not play the sluggard. 

Idon. Nay, sit down. 

[Turning to Host. 

Grood Host, such tendance as you would expect 
Erom your own Children, if yourself were sick. 
Let this old Man find at your hands ; poor Leader, 

[LooTcing at the dog. 
We soon shall meet again. If thou neglect 
This charge of thine, then ill befal thee ! — Look, 
The little fool is loth to stay behind. 
Sir Host ! by all the love you bear to courtesy, 
Take care of him, and feed the truant well. 

Host. Fear not, I will obey you; — ^but One so young, 
And One so fair, it goes against my heart 
That you should travel unattended. Lady ! — 
I have a palfrey and a groom : the lad 
Shall squire you, (would it not be better, Sir ?) 
And for less fee than I would let him run 
For any lady I have seen this twelvemonth. 

Idon. Tou know. Sir, I have been too long your guard 
Not to have learnt to laugh at little fears. 
Why, if a wolf should leap from out a thicket, 
A look of mine would send him scouring back, 



THE BORDERERS. §7 

Unless I differ from the thing I am 
When jou are bj my side. 

Her, Idonea, wolves 

Are not the enemies that move my fears. 

Idon. No more, I pray, of this. Three days at farthest 
"Will bring me back — protect him. Saints — farewell ! 

\_Exit Idonea. 

Host. 'Tis never drought with us — St. Cuthbert 
and his Pilgrims, 
Thanks to them, are to us a stream of comfort : 
Pity the Maiden did not wait a while ; 
She could not. Sir, have failed of company. 

Her, Now she is gone, I fain would call her back. 

Host {calling). Holla! 

Her, JSTo, no, the business must be done. — 

What means this riotous noise ? 

Host, The villagers 

Are flocking in — a wedding festival — 
That's all— Grod save you. Sir. 

Enter Oswald. 

Osw, Ha ! as I live. 

The Baron Herbert. 

Host. Mercy, the Baron Herbert 1 

Osw, So far into your journey ! on my life. 
You are a lusty Traveller. But how fare you ? 

Her, Well as the wreck I am permits. And you, 
Sir? 

Osw, I do not see Idonea. 

Her, Dutiful Girl, 

She is gone before, to spare my weariness. 
But what has brought you hither ? 



88 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Osw, A slight aftair, 

That will be soon despatched. 

Her. Did Marmaduke 

Eeceive that letter ? 

Osw, Be at peace. — The tie 

Is broken, you will hear no mpre of him. 

Mer. This is true comfort, thanks a thousand times! — 
That noise ! — would I had gone with her as far 
As the Lord Clifford's Castle : I have heard 
That, in his milder moods, he has expressed 
Compassion for me. His influence is great 
"With Henry, our good King ; — the Baron might 
Have heard my suit, and urged my plea at Court. 
IN'o matter — he's a dangerous Man. — That noise ! — 
'Tis too disorderly for sleep or rest. 
Idonea would have fears for me, — the Convent 
"Will give me quiet lodging. You have a boy, good Host, 
And he must lead me back. 

Osw, Tou are most lucky ; 

I have been waiting in the wood hard by 
For a companion — here he comes ; our journey 

^Ti^er Marmaduke. 
Lies on your way ; accept us as your Gruides. 

Her, Alas ! I creep so slowly. 

Osw, Never fear ; 

"We'll not complain of that. 

Her. My limbs are stifi* 

And need repose. Could you but wait an hour ? 

Osw, Most willingly 1 — Come, let me lead you in. 
And, while you take your rest, think not of us ; 
We'll stroll into the wood ; lean on my arm. 

[Conducts Herbert into the house. Exit Marmaduke. 



THE BORDERERS. 89 

Enter Villagers. 
Osw. (to himself coming out of the Hostel). I have 
prepared a most apt Instrument — 
The Vagrant must, no doubt, be loitering somewhere 
About this ground ; she hath a tongue well skilled. 
By mingling natural matter of her own 
With all the daring fictions I have taught her, 
To win belief, such as my plot requires. 

[Exit Oswald. 

Enter more Villagers, a Musician among them. 

Host (to them). Into the court, my Eriend, and 
perch yourself 
Aloft upon the elm-tree. Pretty Maids, 
Garlands and flowers, and cakes and merry thoughts. 
Are here, to send the sun into the west 
More speedily than you belike would wish. 



Scene changes to the Wood adjoining the Hostel — Marmaduke 
and Oswald entering. 

Mar. I would fain hope that we deceive ourselves : 
When first I saw him sitting there, alone, 
It struck upon my heart I know not how. 

Osw. To-day will clear up all. — Tou marked a 
Cottage, 
That ragged Dwelling, close beneath a rock 
By the brook-side : it is the abode of One, 
A Maiden innocent till ensnared by Clifl'ord, 
Who soon grew weary of her ; but, alas ! 
What she had seen and suffered turned her brain. 
Cast ofi" by her Betrayer, she dwells alone, 
Nor moves her hands to any needful work : 



90 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

She eats lier food which every day the peasants 
Bring to her hut ; and so the Wretch has lived 
Ten years ; and no one ever heard her voice ; 
But every night at the first stroke of twelve 
She quits her house, and, in the neighbouring Church- 
yard 
Upon the self-same spot, in rain or storm, 
She paces out the hour 'twixt twelve and one — 
She paces round and round an Infant's grave, 
And in the churchyard sod her feet have worn 

A hollow ring ; they say it is knee- deep 

Ah ! what is here ? 

[A female Beggar rises up, rubhing her eyes as if in sleep — 
a Child in her arins. 

Beg, Oh ! Grentlemen, I thank you ; 

I've had the saddest dream that ever troubled 
The heart of living creature. — My poor Babe 
"Was crying, as I thought, crying for bread 
When I had none to give him ; whereupon, 
I put a slip of foxglove in his hand, 
Which pleased him so, that he was hushed at once : 
When, into one of those same spotted bells 
A bee came darting, which the Child with joy 
Imprisoned there, and held it to his ear, 
A.nd suddenly grew black, as he would die. 

Mar, We have no time for this, my babbling Grossip ; 
Here's what will comfort you. [Gives her money, 

JBeg, The Saints reward you 

For this good deed ! — Well, Sirs, this passed away ; 
And afterwards I fancied, a strange dog, 
Trotting alone along the beaten road. 
Came to my child as by my side he slept 
And, fondling, licked his face, then on a sudden 



THE BORDERERS. 91 

Snapped fierce to make a morsel of his head : 
But here he is, [Icissing the Ohild'] it must have been 
a dream. 

Osw. When next inclined to sleep, take my advice, 
And put your head, good Woman, under cover. 

Beg» Oh, sir, you would not talk thus, if you knew 
What life is this of ours, how sleep will master 
The weary-worn. — Tou gentlefolk have got 
Warm chambers to your wish. I'd rather be 
A stone than what I am. — But two nights gone. 
The darkness overtook me — wind and rain 
Beat hard upon my head — and yet I saw 
A glow-worm, through the covert of the furze. 
Shine calmly as if nothing ailed the sky : 
At which I half accused the Grod in Heaven. — 
You must forgive me. 

Osw, Ay, and if you think 

The Fairies are to blame, and you should chide 
Tour favourite saint — no matter — this good day 
Has made amends. 

Beg. Thanks to you both ; but, sir ! 

How would you like to travel on whole hours 
As I have done, my eyes upon the ground, 
Expecting still, I knew not how, to find 
A piece of money glittering through the dust. 

Mar. This woman is a prater. Pray, good Lady ! 
Do you tell fortunes ? 

Beg. Oh Sir, you are like the rest. 

This Little-one — it cuts me to the heart — 
Well ! they might turn a beggar from their doors. 
But there are Mothers who can see the Babe 
Here at my breast, and ask me where I bought it : 



92 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

This they can do, and look upon my face — 
But you, Sir, should be kinder. 

Mar. Come hither, fathers. 

And learn what nature is from this poor Wretch ! 

JBeg, Aj, Sir, there's nobody that feels for us. 
"Why now — but yesterday I overtook 
A blind old Greybeard and accosted him, 
I' th' name of all the Saints, and by the Mass 
He should have used me better ! — Charity ! 
If you can melt a rock, he is your man ; 
But I'll be even with him — here again 
Have I been waiting for him. 

Osw. Well, but softly. 

Who is it that hath wronged you ? 

£eg, Mark you me ; 

I'll point him out ; — a Maiden is his guide, 
Lovely as Spring's first rose ; a little dog. 
Tied by a woollen cord, moves on before 
With look as sad as he were dumb ; the cur, 
I owe him no ill will, but in good sooth 
He does his Master credit. 

Mar. As I live, 

'Tis Herbert and no other ! 

Beff, 'Tis a feast to see him. 

Lank as a ghost and tall, his shoulders bent, 
And long beard white with age — yet evermore. 
As if he were the only Saint on earth. 
He turns his face to heaven. 

Osw. But why so violent 

Against this venerable Man ? 

Beg. I'll tell you : 

He has the very hardest heart on earth ; 



THE BORDERERS. 93 

I had as lief turn to the Eriar's school 
And knock for entrance, in mid holiday. 

Mar. Eut to your story. 

Beg. ' I was saying, Sir — 

Well ! — he has often spurned me like a toad. 
But yesterday was worse than all ; — at last 
I overtook him, Sirs, my Babe and I, 
And begged a little aid for charity : 
But he was snappish as a cottage cur. 
Well then, says I — I'll out with it ; at which 
I cast a look upon the Grirl, and felt 
As if my heart would burst ; and so I left him. 

Osw, I think, good Woman, you are the very person 
Whom, but some few days past, I saw in Eskdale, 
At Herbert's door. 

Beg. Ay ; and if truth were known 

I have good business there. 

Osw. I met you at the threshold. 

And he seemed angry. 

Beg. Angry ! well he might ; 

And long as I can stir I'll dog him. — Yesterday, 
To serve me so, and knowing that he owes 
The best of all he has to me and mine. 
But 'tis all over now. — That good old Lady 
Has left a power of riches ; and, I say it, 
If there's a lawyer in the land, the knave 
Shall give me half. 

08W. What's this ? — I fear, good Woman, 

Tou have been insolent. 

Beg. And there's the Baron, 

I spied him skulking in his peasant's dress. 
Osw. How say you ? in disguise ? — 



94 POEMS WEITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Mar. But what's your business 

"With Herbert or bis Daughter ? 

Beg, Daughter ! truly — 

But how's the day ? — I fear, my little Boy, 
We've overslept ourselves. — Sirs, have you seen him ? 

[Offers to go. 

Mar, I must have more of this ; — you shall not stir 
An inch, till I am answered. Know you aught 
That doth concern this Herbert ? 

Beg, Tou are provoked. 

And will misuse me. Sir ? 

3Iar, ISTo trifling, "Woman ! — 

Osw. Tou are as safe as in a sanctuary ; 
Speak. 

Mar, Speak! 

Beg, He is a most hard-hearted Man. 

Mar. Tour life is at my mercy. 

Beg. Do not harm me, 

And I will tell you all ! — Tou know not. Sir, 
What strong temptations press upon the Poor. 

Osw. Speak out. 

Beg, Oh Sir, I've been a wicked "Woman. 

Osw. Nay, but speak out ! 

Beg. He flattered me, and said 

What harvest it would bring us both ; and so, 
I parted with the Child. 

Mar, Parted with whom ? 

Beg. Idonea, as he calls her ; but the Grirl 
Is mine. 

Mar. Tours, Woman ! are you Herbert's wife ? 

Beg, Wife, Sir ! his wife — not I ; my husband, Sir, 
Was of Kirkoswald — many a snowy winter 



THE BOKDEREKS. 95 

"We've weathered out together. My poor Grilfred 1 
He has been two years in his grave. 

Mar, Enough. 

Osw, "We've solved the riddle — Miscreant ! 

Mar. Do you, 

Good Dame, repair to Liddesdale and wait 
Tor my return ; be sure you shall have justice. 

Osw, A lucky woman ! go, you have done good 
service. [Aside. 

Mar. (to himself). Eternal praises on the power 
that saved her ! — 

Osw. (gives her money). Here's for your little boy — 
and when you christen him 
I'll be his Godfather. 

Beg, Oh Sir, you are merry with me. 

In grange or farm this Hundred scarcely owns 
A dog that does not know me. — These good Eolks, 
Eor love of God, I must not pass their doors ; 
But I'll be back with my best speed: for you — 
God bless and thank you both, my gentle Masters. 

\^Exit Beggar. 

Mar. (to himself). The cruel Viper ! — Poor devoted 
Maid, 
Now I do love thee. 

Osw. I am thunderstruck. 

Mar. "Where is she — holla ! 

[Calling to the Beggar, who returns; he loolcs at her 
stedfastly. 

Tou are Idonea's mother ? — 
Nay, be not terrified — it does me good 
To look upon you. 

Ostv. (interrupting). In a peasant's dress 
Tou saw, who was it ? 



96 POEMS WEITTEN IN YOUTH. 

^eg, Nay, I dare not speak ; 

He is a man, if it should come to his ears 
I never shall be heard of more. 

Osw. Lord Clifford? 

^eg. "What can I do ? believe me, gentle Sirs, 
I love her, though I dare not call her daughter. 

Osw, Lord Clifford — did you see him talk with 
Herbert ? 

Beg, Yes, to my sorrov^ — under the great oak 
At Herbert's door — and when he stood beside 
The blind Man — at the silent Grirl he looked 
With such a look — it makes me tremble. Sir, 
To think of it. 

Osw, Enough ! you may depart. 

Mar (to himself). Father! — to Grod himself we 
cannot give 
A holier name ; and, under such a mask, 
To lead a Spirit, spotless as the blessed. 
To that abhorred den of brutish vice ! — 
Oswald, the firm foundation of my life 
Is going from under me ; these strange discoveries — 
Looked at from every point of fear or hope, 
Duty, or love — involve, I feel, my ruin. 



ACT 11. 

Scene, A Chamber in the Hostel — Oswald alone, rising from a 
Table on which he had been writing. 

Osw. They chose Mm for their Chief! — what 
covert part 
He, in the preference, modest Youth, might take, 



THE BORDERERS. 97 

I neither know nor care. The insult bred 
More of contempt than hatred ; both are flown ; 
That either e'er existed is my shame : 
'Twas a dull spark — a most unnatural fire 
That died the moment the air breathed upon it. 
— These fools of feeling are mere birds of winter 
That haunt some barren island of the north, 
"Wliere, if a famishing man stretch forth his hand, 
They think it is to feed them. I have left him 
To solitary meditation ; — now 
Tor a few swelling phrases, and a flash 
Of truth, enough to dazzle and to blind. 
And he is mine for ever— here he comes. 

Enter Marmaduke. 

Mar. These ten years she has moved her lips all day 
And never speaks ! 

Osw, Who is it ? 

Mar, I have seen her. 

Osw. Oh ! the poor tenant of that ragged homestead. 
Her whom the Monster, Clifl'ord, drove to madness. 

Mar. I met a peasant near the spot ; he told me. 
These ten years she had sate all day alone 
Within those empty walls. 

Osw, I too have seen her ; 

Chancing to pass this way some six months gone, 
At midnight, I betook me to the Churchyard : 
The moon shone clear, the air was still, so still 
The trees were silent as the graves beneath them. 
Long did I watch, and saw her pacing round 
Upon the self-same spot, still round and round, 
Her lips for ever moving. 

Mar. At her door 



98 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Eooted I stood ; for, looking at the woman, 
I thought I saw the skeleton of Idonea. 

Osw. But the pretended Father 

Mar. Earthly law 

Measures not crimes like his. 

Osw. We rank not, happily, 

With those who take the spirit of their rule 
From that soft class of devotees who feel 
Eeverence for life so deeply, that they spare 
The verminous brood, and cherish what they spare 
"While feeding on their bodies. Would that Idonea 
Were present, to the end that we might hear 
What she can urge in his defence ; she loves him. 

Mar. Yes, loves him ; 'tis a truth that multiplies 
His guilt a thousand-fold. 

Osw. 'Tis most perplexing : 

What must be done ? 

Mar. We will conduct her hither ; 

These walls shall witness it — from first to last 
He shall reveal himself, 

Osw. Happy are we. 

Who live in these disputed tracts, that own 
JN'o law but what each man makes for himself ; 
Here justice has indeed a field of triumph. 

Mar, Let us be gone and bring her hither ; — here 
The truth shall be laid open, his guilt proved 
Before her face. The rest be left to me. 

Osw. You will be firm : but though we well may trust 
The issue to the justice of the cause. 
Caution must not be flung aside ; remember, 
Yours is no common life. Self-stationed here 
Upon these savage confines, we have seen you 
Stand like an isthmus 'twixt two stormy seas 



THE BORDERERS. 

That oft have checked their farj at your bidding. 
'Mid the deep holds of Solway's mossy waste, 
Your single virtue has transformed a Band 
Of fierce barbarians into Ministers 
Of peace and order. Aged men with tears 
Have blessed their steps, the fatherless retire 
For shelter to their banners. But it is. 
As you must needs have deeply felt, it is 
In darkness and in tempest that we seek 
The majesty of Him who rules the world. 
Benevolence, that has not heart to use 
The wholesome ministry of pain and evil, 
Becomes at last weak and contemptible. 
Tour generous qualities have won due praise. 
But vigorous Spirits look for something more 
Than Youth's spontaneous products ; and to-day 
You will not disappoint them ; and hereafter- 



Mar. You are wasting words ; hear me then, once 
for all : 
You are a Man — and therefore, if compassion. 
Which to our kind is natural as life. 
Be known unto you, you will love this Woman, 
Even as I do ; but I should loathe the light. 
If I could think one weak or partial feeling 

Osw. You will forgive me 

Mar. If I ever knew 

My heart, could penetrate its inmost core, 
'Tis at this moment. — Oswald, I have loved 
To be the friend and father of the oppressed, 
A comforter of sorrow ; — there is something 
A¥hich looks like a transition in my soul. 
And yet it is not. — Let us lead him hither. 

Osw. Stoop for a moment ; 'tis an act of justice ; 

H 2 



100 POEMS WRITTEN IN" YOUTH. 

And where' s the triumj^h if the delegate 

Must fall in the execution of his office ? 

The deed is done — if you will have it so — ■ 

Here where we stand — that tribe of vulgar wretches 

(Tou saw them gathering for the festival) 

Eush in — the villains seize us 

Mar, Seize ! 

Osw. Yes, they — ■ 

Men who are little given to sift and weigh— 
"Would wreak on us the passion of the moment. 

Mar. The cloud will soon disperse — farewell — but 
stay, 
Thou wilt relate the story. 

Osw, Am I neither 

To bear a part in this Man's punishm^ent, 
JSTor be its witness ? 

Mar, I had many hopes 

That were most dear to me, and some will bear 
To be transferred to thee. 

Osw, "When I'm dishonoured ! 

Mar. I would preserve thee. How may this be done ? 

Osw. By showing that you look beyond the instant. 
A few leagues hence we shall have open ground, 
And nowhere upon earth is place so fit 
To look upon the deed. Before we enter 
The barren Moor, hangs from a beetling rock 
The shattered Castle in which Clifford oft 
Has held infernal orgies — with the gloom, 
And very superstition of the place, 
Seasoning his wickedness. The Debauchee 
"Would there perhaps have gathered the first fruits 
Of this mock Father's guilt. 



THE BORDERERS. 101 

Enter Host conducting Herbert. 
Host, The Baron Herbert 

Attends your pleasure. 

Osw, {to Host). We are ready — 

{to Herbert) Sir ! 
I hope you are refreshed. — I have just written 
A notice for your Daughter^ that she may know 
What is become of you. — You'll sit down and sign it ; 
'Twill glad her heart to see her father's signature. 

[Gives the letter he had written. 
Her, Thanks for your care. 

[Sits down and writes. Exit Host. 
Osw, («5fJei6> Marmadtjke). Perhaps it would be 
useful 
That you too should subscribe your name. 

[Marmaduke overlooJcs Herbert — then writes — examines 
the letter eagerly. 

Mar. I cannot leave this paper. 

[He puts it up, agitated, 
Osw. {aside). Dastard! Come, 

[Marmaduke goes towards Herbert and supports him 
— Marmaduke tremblingly beckons Oswald to taJce 
his place. 
Mar, {as he quits Herbert) . There is a palsy in 
his limbs — he shakes. 
[Exeunt Oswald and Herbert— Marmaduke following. 

Scene changes to a Wood — a Group of Pilgrims and Idonea 
with them. 

First JPil, A grove of darker and more lofty shade 
I never saw. 

Sec. Fil, The music of the birds 
Drops deadened from a roof so thick with leaves. 



102 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Old Fil. This news! It made my heart leap up 
with joy. 

Idon. I scarcely can believe it. 

Old Fil Myself, I heard 

The Sheriff read, in open Court, a letter 
Which purported it was the royal pleasure 
The Baron Herbert, who, as was supposed, 
Had taken refuge in this neighbourhood. 
Should be forthwith restored. The hearing. Lady, 
Filled my dim eyes with tears. — When I returned 
From Palestine, and brought with me a heart. 
Though rich in heavenly, poor in earthly, comfort, 
I met your Father, then a wandering Outcast : 
He had a Guide, a Shepherd's boy ; but grieved 
He was that One so young should pass his youth 
In such sad service ; and he parted with him. 
We joined our tales of wretchedness together. 
And begged our daily bread from door to door. 
I talk familiarly to you, sweet Lady ! 
For once you loved me. 

Idon. You shall back with me 

And see your Friend again. The good old Man 
Will be rejoiced to greet you. 

Old Fil. It seems but yesterday 

That a fierce storm o'ertook us, worn with travel, 
In a deep wood remote from any town. 
A cave that opened to the road presented 
A friendly shelter, and w^e entered in. 

Idon, And I was with you ? 

Old Fil. If indeed 'twas you — 

Bub you w^ere then a tottering Little-one — 
We sate us down. The sky grew dark and darker : 
I struck my flint, and built up a small fire 



THE BORDERERS. 103 

With rotten boughs and leaves, such as the winds 
Of many autumns in the cave had piled. 
Meanwhile the storm fell heavy on the woods ; 
Our little fire sent forth a cheering warmth 
And we were comforted, and talked of comfort \ 
But 'twas an angry night, and o'er our heads 
The thunder rolled in peals that would have made 
A sleeping man uneasy in his bed. 
Lady, you have need to love your Father. 
His voice — methinks I hear it now, his voice 
When, after a broad flash that filled the cave, 
He said to me, that he had seen his Child, 
A face (no cherub's face more beautiful) 
Revealed by lustre brought with it from Heaven ; 
And it was you, dear Lady ! 

Idon, Grod be praised, 

That I have been his comforter till now ! 
And will be so through every change of fortune 
And every sacrifice his peace requires. — 
Let us be gone with speed, that he may hear 
These joyful tidings from no lips but mine. 

\Exeunt Idonea and Pilgrims. 

Scene the Area of a half-ruined Castle — on one side the entrance 
to a dungeon — Oswald and Marmaduke pacing backwards 
and forwards. 

Mar, 'Tis a wild night. 

Osw, I'd give my cloak and bonnet 

For sight of a warm fire. 

Mar, The wind blows keen ; 

My hands are numb. 

Osw, Ha ! ha ! 'tis nipping cold. 

[Blowing his fingers. 



104 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

I long for news of our brave Comrades ; Lacy 
Would drive those Scottish E/Overs to their dens 
If once they blew a horn this side the Tweed. 

Mar. I think I see a second range of Towers ; 
This castle has another Area — come, 
Let us examine it. 

Osw. 'Tis a bitter night ; 

I hope Idonea is well housed. That horseman, 
Who at full speed swept by us where the wood 
Eoared in the tempest, was within an ace 
Of sending to his grave our precious Charge : 
That would have been a vile mischance. 

Mar, It would. 

Osw. Justice had been most cruelly defrauded. 

Mar. Most cruelly. 

Osw, As up the steep we clomb, 

I saw a distant fire in the north-east ; 
I took it for the blaze of Cheviot Beacon : 
With proper speed our quarters may be gained 
To-morrow evening. 

[Lools restlesdy towards the mouth of the dungeon. 

Mar. When, upon the plank, 

I had led him 'cross the torrent, his voice blessed me : 
Tou could not hear, for the foam beat the rocks 
With deafening noise, — the benediction fell 
Back on himself; but changed into a curse. 

Osw. As well indeed it might. 

Mar. And this you deem 

The fittest place ? 

Osw. (aside). He is growing pitiful. 

Mar. (listening). What an odd moaning that is ! — 

Osw. Mighty odd 

The wind should pipe a little, while we stand 



THE BORDERERS. 105 

Cooling our heels in this way ! — I'll begin 
And count the stars. 

Mar. (still listening) . That dog of his, jou are sure, 
Could not come after us — he must have perished ; 
The torrent would have dashed an oak to splinters. 
You said you did not like his looks — that he 
Would trouble us ; if he were here again, 
I swear the sight of him would quail me more 
Than twenty armies. 

Osw. How ? 

liar. The old blind Man, 

When you had told him the mischance, was troubled 
Even to the shedding of some natural tears 
Into the torrent over which he hung. 
Listening in vain. 

Osw. He has a tender heart ! 

[Oswald offers to go down into the dungeon. 

Mar. How now, what mean you ? 

Osw. * Truly, I was going 

To waken our stray Baron. Were there not 
A farm or dwelling-house within five leagues, 
We should deserve to wear a cap and bells, 
Three good round years, for playing the fool here 
In such a night as this. 

3far. Stop, stop. 

Osw, Perhaps, 

You'd better like we should descend together. 
And lie down by his side — what say you to it ? 
Three of us — we should keep each other warm : 
I'll answer for it that our four-legged friend 
Shall not disturb us ; further I'll not engage ; 
Come, come, for manhood's sake ! 

Mar. These drowsy shiverings, 



106 POEMS WRITTEN" IN YOUTH. 

This mortal stupor whicli is creeping over me, 
What do thej mean ? were this my single body 
Opposed to armies, not a nerve would tremble : 
Why do I tremble now ? — Is not the depth 
Of this Man's crimes beyond the reach of thought ? 
And yet, in plumbing the abyss for judgment. 
Something I strike upon which turns my mind 
Back on herself, I think, again — my breast 
Concentres all the terrors of the Universe : 
I look at him and tremble like a child. 

Osw. Is it possible ? 

Mar. One thing you noticed not : 

Just as we left the glen a clap of thunder 
Burst on the mountains with hell-rousing force. 
This is a time, said he, when guilt may shudder ; 
But there's a Providence for them who walk 
In helplessness, when innocence is with them. 
At this audacious blasphemy, I thought 
The spirit of vengeance seemed to ride the air. 

Osw. Why are you not the man you were that 
moment ? [Ife draws Marmaduke to the dungeon. 

Mar. You say he was asleep, — look at this arm, 
And tell me if 'tis fit for such a work. 
Oswald, Oswald ! [Leans upon Oswald. 

Osw. This is some sudden seizure ! 

Mar. A most strange faintness, — will you hunt me 
out 
A draught of water ? 

Osw. Nay, to see you thus 

Moves me beyond my bearing. — I will try 
To gain the torrent's brink. [Exit Oswald. 

Mar. (after a pause). It seems an age 

Since that Man left me. — No, I am not lost. 



THE BORDERERS. 107 

Her. {at the mouth of the dungeon). Grive me your 
hand ; where are you, Friends ? and tell me 
How goes the night. 

Mar. 'Tis hard to measure time, 

In such a weary night, and such a place. 

Her. I do not hear the voice of my friend Oswald. 

Mar. A minute past, he went to fetch a draught 
Of water from the torrent. 'Tis, you'll say, 
A. cheerless beverage. 

Her. How good it was in you 

To stay behind ! — Hearing at first no answer, 
I was alarmed. 

Mar. No wonder ; this is a place 

That well may put some fears into your heart. 

Her. "Why so ? a roofless rock had been a comfort. 
Storm-beaten and bewildered as we were ; 
And in a night like this, to lend your cloaks 
To make a bed for me ! — My Grirl will weep 
When she is told of it. 

Mar. This Daughter of yours 

Is very dear to you. 

Her. Oh ! but you are young ; 

Over your head twice twenty years must roll. 
With all their natural weight of sorrow and pain, 
Ere can be known to you how much a Father 
May love his Child. 

Mar. Thank you, old Man, for this ! [Aside. 

Her. Fallen am I, and worn out, a useless Man ; 
Kindly have you protected me to-night, 
And no return have I to make but prayers ; 
May you in age be blest with such a daughter ! — 
When from the Holy Land I had returned 
Sightless, and from my heritage was driven, 



108 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

A wretclied Outcast — but this strain of thought 
Would lead me to talk fondly. 

Mar. Do not fear ; 

Your words are precious to my ears ; go on. 

Her, You will forgive me, but my heart runs over. 
When my old Leader slipped into the flood 
And perished, what a piercing outcry you 
Sent after him. I have loved you ever since. 
You start — where are we ? 

Mar, Oh, there is no danger ; 

The cold blast struck me. 

Her, 'Twas a foolish question. 

Mar, But when you were an Outcast ? — Heaven is 
just ; 
Your piety would not miss its due reward ; 
The little Orphan then would be your succour, 
And do good service, though she knew it not. 

Her, I turned me from the dwellings of my Fathers, 
Where none but those who trampled on my rights 
Seemed to remember me. To the wide w^orld 
I bore her, in my arms ; her looks won pity ; 
She was my Eaven in the wilderness, 
And brought me food. Have I not cause to love her ? 

Mar, Yes. 

Her. More than ever Parent loved a Child ? 

Mar. Yes, yes. 

Her, I will not murmur, merciful Grod ! 

I will not murmur ; blasted as I have been. 
Thou hast left me ears to hear my Daughter's voice, 
And arms to fold her to my heart. Submissively 
Thee I adore, and find my rest in faith. 



THE BORDERERS. 109 

Enter Oswald. 

Osw, Herbert !— confusion ! {aside) . Here it is, 
my Friend, {Presents the Horn. 

A charming beverage for you to carouse, 
This bitter night. 

Her. Ha ! Oswald ! ten bright crosses 

I would have given, not many minutes gone. 
To have heard your voice. 

Osw, Your couch, I fear, good Earon, 

Has been but comfortless ; and yet that place. 
When the tempestuous wind first drove us hither. 
Pelt warm as a wren's nest. Tou'd better turn 
And under covert rest till break of day, 
Or till the storm abate. 

{To Marmaduke aside). He has restored you. 
ISTo doubt you have been nobly entertained ? 
But soft ! — how came he forth ? The Night-mare 

Conscience 
Has driven him out of harbour ? 

Mar. I believe 

Tou have guessed right. 

Her. The trees renew their murmur : 

Come, let us house together. 

[Oswald conducts him to the dungeon. 

Osw. (returns). Had I not 

Esteemed you worthy to conduct the affair 
To its most fit conclusion, do you think 
I would so long have struggled with my Nature, 
And smothered all that's man in me ? — away ! — 

[Looking towards the dungeon. 

This man's the property of him who best 

Can feel his crimes. I have resigned a privilege ; 

It now becomes my duty to resume it. 



110 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Mar. Touch not a finger 

Osiv. What then must be done ? 

Mar. Which waj soe'er I turn, I am perplexed. 

Osw. Now, on my life, I grieve for you. The misery 
Of doubt is insupportable. Pity, the facts 
Did not admit of stronger evidence ; 
Twelve honest men, plain men, would set us right ; 
Their verdict would abolish these weak scruples. 

Mar. Weak! I am weak — there does my torment lie, 
Feeding itself. 

Osw. Verily, when he said 

How his old heart would leap to hear her steps, 
You thought his voice the echo of Idonea's. 

Mar. And never heard a sound so terrible. 

Osw. Perchance you think so now ? 

Mar. I cannot do it : 

Twice did I spring to grasp his withered throat, 
A¥hen such a sudden weakness fell upon me, 
I could have dropped asleep upon his breast. 

Osw. Justice — is there not thunder in the word ? 
Shall it be law to stab the petty robber 
Who aims but at our purse ; and shall this Parricide — 
Worse is he far, far worse (if foul dishonour 
Be worse than death) to that confiding Creature 
Whom he to more than filial love and duty 
Hath falsely trained — shall he fulfil his purpose ? 
But you are fallen. 

Mar. Pallen should I be indeed — 

Murder — perhaps asleep, blind, old, alone, 
Betrayed, in darkness ! Here to strike the blow — 
Away ! away ! [Flings away his sword. 

Osw. Nay, I have done with you : 

We'll lead him to the Convent. He shall live. 



THE BORDEKERS. Ill 

And she shall love him. "With unquestioned title 

He shall be seated in his Baronj, 

And we too chant the praise of his good deeds. 

I now perceive we do mistake our masters, 

And most despise the men who best can teach us : 

Henceforth it shall be said that bad men onlj 

Are brave : Clifford is brave ; and that old Man 

Is brave. [TaMng Marmaduke's sword and giving it to him. 

To Clifford's arms he would have led 
His Victim— haplj to this desolate house. 

Mar. (^advancing to the dungeon). It must be 
ended ! — 

Osw. Softly ; do not rouse him ; 

He will deny it to the last. He lies 
Within the Vault, a spear's length to the left. 

[Marmaduke descends to the dungeon. 
{Alone.) The Villains rose in mutiny to destroy me ; 
I could have quelled the Cowards, but this Stripling 
Must needs step in, and save my life. The look 
With which he gave the boon — I see it now ! 
The same that tempted me to loathe the gift. — 
Tor this old venerable Grrey-beard — faith 
'Tis his own fault if he hath got a face 
Which doth play tricks with them that look on it : 
'Twas this that put it in my thoughts — that counte- 
nance — 
His staff — his figure — Murder ! — what, of whom ? 
We kill a worn-out horse, and who but women 
Sigh at the deed ? Hew down a withered tree, 
And none look grave but dotards. He may live 
To thank me for this service. Eainbow arches. 
Highways of dreaming passion, have too long, 
Young as he is, diverted wish and hope 



112 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

From the unpretending ground we mortals tread ; — 

Then shatter the delusion, break it up 

And set him free. What follows ? I have learned 

That things will work to ends the slaves o' the world 

Do never dream of. I have been what he — 

This Boy — when he comes forth with bloody hands — 

Might envy, and am now, — but he shall know 

What I am now — [Goes and listens at the dungeon. 

Praying or parleying ? — tut ! 
Is he not eyeless ? He has been half-dead 
These fifteen years 

Enter female Beggar with two or three of her Companions. 
{Turning ahruptly). Ha! sfeah — what Thing 

art thou ? 
(^Recognises her). Heavens ! my good Friend ! [To her. 
Beg. Forgive me, gracious Sir ! — 

Osw. (to her companions). Begone, ye Slaves, or I 
will raise a whirlwind 
And send ye dancing to the clouds, like leaves. 

[They retire affrighted. 
Beg. Indeed w^e meant no harm ; we lodge sometimes 
In this deserted Castle — I repent me, 

[Oswald goes to the dungeon — listens — returns to the Beggar. 
Osw. Woman, thou hast a helpless Infant — keep 
Thy secret for its sake, or verily 
That wretched life of thine shall be the forfeit. 
Beg. I do repent me. Sir ; I fear the curse 

Of that blind Man. 'Twas not your money, sir • 

Osw. Begone ! 

Beg. (^going). There is some wicked deed in hand : 

[Aside. 
Would I could find the old Man and his Daughter. 

[Exit Beggar. 



THE BORDERERS. 113 

Marmaduke re-enters from the dungeon. 

Osw. It is all over then ; — your foolish fears 
Are hushed to sleep, by your own act and deed, 
Made quiet as he is. 

Mar, Why came you down ? 

And when I felt your hand upon my arm 
And spake to you, why did you give no answer ? 
Feared you to waken him ? he must have been 
In a deep sleep. I whispered to him thrice. 
There are the strangest echoes in that place ! 

Osw. Tut ! let them gabble till the day of doom. 

Mar, Scarcely, by groping, had I reached the Spot, 
"When round my wrist I felt a cord drawn tight. 
As if the blind Man's dog were pulling at it. 

Osw. But after that ? 

Mar, The features of Idonea 

Lurked in his face • 

Osw, Psha ! Never to these eyes 

Will retribution show itself again 
With aspect so inviting. Why forbid me 
To share your triumph ? 

Mar. Yes, her very look. 

Smiling in sleep — — 

Osw. A pretty feat of Pancy ! 

Mar. Though but a glimpse, it sent me to my 
prayers. 

Osw. Is he alive ? 

Mar, What mean you ? who alive ? 

Osw. Herbert! since you will have it, Baron 
Herbert ; 
He who will gain his Seignory when Idonea 
Hath become Clifford's harlot — is lie living? 

Mar. The old Man in that dungeon is alive. 

VOL. I. I 



114 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Osw, Hencefortli, then, will I never in camp or field 
Obey yoa more. Tour weakness, to tlie Band, 
Shall be proclaimed : brave Men, they all shall hear it. 
Ton a protector of humanity ! 
Avenger you of outraged innocence ! 

Mar. 'Twas dark — dark as the grave ; yet did I see. 
Saw him — his face turned toward me ; and I tell thee 
Idonea's filial countenance was there 
To baffle me — it put me to my prayers. 
Upwards I cast my eyes, and, through a crevice. 
Beheld a star twinkling above my head. 
And, by the living Grod, I could not do it. 

[Siriks exhausted. 

Osw. (io himself), Now may I perish if this turn 
do more 
Than make me change my course. 
{To Maemadtjee.) Dear Marmaduke, 

My words were rashly spoken ; I recal them : 
I feel my error ; shedding human blood 
Is a most serious thing. 

Mar. Not I alone, 

Thou too art deep in guilt. 

Osw. "We have indeed 

Been most presumptuous. There is guilt in this, 
Else could so strong a mind have ever known 
These trepidations ? Plain it is that Heaven 
Has marked out this foul Wretch as one whose crimes 
Must never come before a mortal judgment-seat. 
Or be chastised by mortal instruments. 

Mar. A thought that's worth a thousand worlds ! 

[Goes towards the dungeon. 

Osw. I grieve 

That, in my zeal, I have caused you so much pain. 



THE BORDERERS. 115 

Mar, Think not of that ! 'tis over — we are safe. 
Osw. (as if to Tiimself, yet speaTcing aloud). The 
truth is hideous, but how stifle it ? 

[Turning to Marmaduke. 
Give me your sword — nay, here are stones and frag- 
ments, 
The least of which would beat out a man's brains ; 
Or you might drive your head against that wall. 
No ! this is not the place to hear the tale : 
It should be told you pinioned in your bed. 
Or on some vast and solitary plain 
Elown to you from a trumpet. 

Mar, Why talk thus ? 

Whate'er the monster brooding in your breast 

I care not : fear I have none, and cannot fear 

[The sound of a horn is heard. 
That horn again — 'Tis some one of our Troop; 
What do they here ? Listen ! 

Osiv, What ! dogged like thieves ! 

Enter Wallace and Lacy, &c. 

Lacy. You are found at last, thanks to the vagrant 
Troop 
Por not misleading us. 

Osw. (looMng at Wallace) . That subtle G-reybeard — 
I'd rather see my father's ghost. 

Lacy {to Marmadtjke) . My Captain, 

We come by order of the Band. Belike 
You have not heard that Henry has at last 
Dissolved the Barons' League, and sent abroad 
His Sheriffs with fit force to reinstate 
The genuine owners of such Lands and Baronies 
As, in these long commotions, have been seized. 

I 2 



116 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

His Power is this way tending. It befits us 
To stand upon our guard, and with our swords 
Defend the innocent. 

Mar, Lacy ! we look 

But at the surfaces of things ; we hear 
Of towns in flames, fields ravaged, young and old 
Driven out in troops to want and nakedness ; 
Then grasp our swords and rush upon a cure 
That flatters us, because it asks not thought : 
The deeper malady is better hid ; 
The world is poisoned at the heart. 

Lacy. What mean you ? 

IVal. {whose eye lias teen fixed suspiciously v/gon 
Oswald). Ay, what is it you mean ? 

Mar. Hark'e, my Friends ; — 

{A'p^earing gay. 
"Were there a Man who, being weak and helpless 
And most forlorn, should bribe a Mother, pressed 
By penury, to yield him up her Daughter, 
A little Infant, and instruct the Babe, 
Prattling upon his knee, to call him Pather 

Lacy. Why, if his heart be tender, that ofi'ence 
I could forgive him. 

Mar. {going on). And should he make the Child 
An instrument of falsehood, should he teach her 
To stretch her arms, and dim the gladsome light 
Of infant playfulness with piteous looks 
Of misery that was not 

Lacy, Troth, 'tis hard — 
But in a world like ours 

Mar. {changing Ms tone). This self-same Man — 
Even while he printed kisses on the cheek 
Of this poor Babe, and taught its innocent tongue 



THE BORDERERS. 117 

To lisp the name of Father — could he look 
To the unnatural harvest of that time 
When he should give her up, a "Woman grown, 
To him who bid the highest in the market 
Of foul pollution 

Lacy, The whole visible world 

Contains not such a Monster ! 

Mar. Tor this purpose 

Should he resolve to taint her Soul by means 
Which bathe the limbs in sweat to think of them ; 
Should he, by tales which would draw tears from iron, 
Work on her nature, and so turn compassion 
And gratitude to ministers of vice, 
And make the spotless spirit of filial love 
Prime mover in a plot to damn his Victim 
Eoth soul and body 

Wal, 'Tis too horrible ; 

Oswald, what say you to it ? 

Lacy, Hew him down. 

And fling him to the ravens. 

Mar, But his aspect 

It is so meek, his countenance so venerable. 

Wal, {with an appearance of mistrust). But how, 
what say you, Oswald ? 

Lacy {at the same moment). Stab him, were it 
Before the Altar. 

Mar, What, if he were sick, 
Tottering upon the very verge of life, 
And old, and blind 

Lacy, Blind, say you ? 

Osw. {coming forward). Are we Men, 

Or own we baby Spirits ? Genuine courage 
Is not an accidental quality. 



118 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

A thing dependent for its casual birth 

On opposition and impediment. 

"Wisdom, if Justice speak the word, beats down 

The giant's strength ; and, at the voice of Justice, 

Spares not the worm. The giant and the worm — 

She weighs them in one scale. The wiles of woman, 

And craft of age, seducing reason, first 

Made weakness a protection, and obscured 

The moral shapes of things. His tender cries 

And helpless innocence — do they protect 

The infant lamb ? and shall the infirmities, 

"Which have enabled this enormous Culprit 

To perpetrate his crimes, serve as a Sanctuary 

To cover him from punishment ? Shame ! — Justice, 

Admitting no resistance, bends alike 

The feeble and the strong. She needs not here 

Her bonds and chains, which make the mighty feeble. 

— "We recognise in this old Man a victim 

Prepared already for the sacrifice. 

Lacy, By heaven, his words are reason ! 

Obw, Yes, my Triends, 

His countenance is meek and venerable ; 
And, by the Mass, to see him at his prayers ! — 
I am of flesh and blood, and may I perish 
"When my heart does not ache to think of it ! — 
Poor Victim ! not a virtue under heaven 
Eut what was made an engine to ensnare thee ; 
But yet I trust, Idonea, thou art safe. 

Lacy, Idonea ! 

Wal. How ! what ? your Idonea ? 

\To Marmaduke. 

Mar, Mine; 

But now no longer mine. You know Lord Clifford ; 



THE BORDERERS. 119 

He is the Man to whom the Maiden — pure 
As beautiful, and gentle and benign, 
And in her ample heart loving even me — 
"Was to be yielded up. 

Lacy, Now, by the head 

Of my own child, this Man must die ; my hand, 
A worthier wanting, shall itself entwine 
In his grey hairs ! — 

Mar, {to Lacy). I love the Father in thee. 
Tou know me, Eriends ; I have a heart to feel. 
And I have felt, more than perhaps becomes me 
Or duty sanctions. 

Lacy. We will have ample justice. 

Who are we, Friends ? Do we not live on ground 
Where Souls are self-defended, free to grow 
Like mountain oaks rocked by the stormy wind. 
Mark the Almighty Wisdom, which decreed 
This monstrous crime to be laid open — here^ 
Where E-eason has an eye that she can use. 
And Men alone are Umpires. To the Camp 
He shall be led, and there, the Country round 
All gathered to the spot, in open day 
Shall Nature be avenged. 

Osw, 'Tis nobly thought ; 

His death will be a monument for ages. 

Mar (to Lacy). I thank you for that hint. He 
shall be brought 
Before the Camp, and would that best and wisest 
Of every country might be present. There, 
His crime shall be proclaimed ; and for the rest 
It shall be done as Wisdom shall decide : 
Meanwhile, do you two hasten back and see 
That all is well prepared. 



120 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Wal, We will obey you. 

(Aside,) But softly ! we must look a little nearer. 

Mar. Tell where you found us. At some future time 
I will explain the cause. [Exeunt. 



ACT III. 

Scene, the door of the Hostel, a group of Pilgrims as before; 
Idonea and the Host among them. 

Host. Lady, you'll find your Father at the Convent 
As I have told you : He left us yesterday 
"With two Companions ; one of them, as seemed, 
His most familiar Friend. {Going.) There was a letter 
Of which I heard them speak, but that I fancy 
Has been forgotten. 

Idon. (toU-O^V), Farewell! 

Host. G-entle pilgrims, 

St. Cuthbert speed you on your holy errand. 

\Exeunt Idonea and Pilgrims. 



Scene, a desolate Moor. 
Oswald (alone). 
Osw. Carry him to the Camp ! Yes, to the Camp. 
Oh, Wisdom ! a most wise resolve ! and then, 
That half a word should blow it to the winds ! 
This last device must end my work. — Methinks 
It were a pleasant pastime to construct 
A scale and table of belief — as thus — 
Two columns, one for passion, one for proof; 
Each rises as the other falls : and first. 



THE BORDERERS. 121 

Passion a unit and against us — proof — 

Nay-j we must travel in another path, 

Or we're stuck fast for ever ; — passion, then, 

Shall be a miitfor us ; proof — no, passion ! 

We'll not insult thy majesty by time, 

Person, and place — the where, the when, the how. 

And all particulars that dull brains require 

To constitute the spiritless shape of Eact, 

They bow to, calling the idol. Demonstration. 

A whipping to the Moralists who preach 

That misery is a sacred thing : for me, 

I know no cheaper engine to degrade a man, 

Nor any half so sure. This Stripling's mind 

Is shaken till the dregs float on the surface ; 

And, in the storm and anguish of the heart. 

He talks of a transition in his Soul, 

And dreams that he is happy. "We dissect 

The senseless body, and why not the mind ? — ■ 

These are strange sights — the mind of man, upturned, 

Is in all natures a strange spectacle ; 

In some a hideous one — hem ! shall I stop ? 

No. — Thoughts and feelings will sink deep, but then 

They have no substance. Pass but a few minutes, 

And something shall be done which Memory 

May touch, whene'er her Vassals are at work. 

Enter Marmaduke, from behind. 
Osw, (turning to meet Mm). But listen, for my 

peace- 

Mar. Why, I believe you. 

Osw. But hear the proofs 

Mar. Ay, prove that when two peas 

Lie snugly in a pod, the pod must then 



122 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Be larger than the peas — prove this — 'twere matter 
Worthy the hearing. Pool was I to dream 
It ever could be otherwise ! 

Osw, Last night 

When I returned with water from the brook, 
I overheard the Villains — every word 
Like red-hot iron burnt into my heart. 
Said one, " It is agreed on. The blind Man 
Shall feign a sudden illness, and the Girl, 
Who on her journey must proceed alone. 
Under pretence of violence, be seized. 
She is," continued the detested Slave, 
" She is right willing — strange if she were not ! — 
They say, Lord Clifford is a savage man ; 
But, faith, to see him in his silken tunic, 
Pitting his low voice to the minstrel's harp. 
There's witchery in't. I never knew a maid 
That could withstand it. True," continued he, 
" When we arranged the affair, she wept a little 
(Not the less welcome to my Lord for that) 
And said, ' My Father he will have it so'." 

Mar. 1 am your hearer. 

Osw. This I caught, and more 

That may not be retold to any ear, 
The obstinate bolt of a small iron door 
Detained them near the gateway of the Castle. 
By a dim lantern's light I saw that wreaths 
Of flowers were in their hands, as if designed 
Por festive decoration ; and they said. 
With brutal laughter and most foul allusion. 
That they should share the banquet with their Lord 
And his new Favorite. 

Mar. Misery ! — 



THE BORDEEERS. 123 

Osw. I knew 

How yon wonld be distnrbed by this dire news, 
And therefore chose this solitary Moor, 
Here to impart the tale, of which, last night, 
I strove to ease my mind, when our two Comrades, 
Commissioned by the Band, burst in upon us. 

Mar, Last night, when moved to lift the avenging 
steel, 
I did believe all things were shadows — yea. 
Living or dead all things were bodiless. 
Or but the mutual mockeries of body. 
Till that same star summoned me back again. 
Now I could laugh till my ribs ached. Oh Fool ! 
To let a creed, built in the heart of things. 
Dissolve before a twinkling atom ! — Oswald, 
I could fetch lessons out of wiser schools 
Than you have entered, were it worth the pains. 
Young as I am, I might go forth a teacher, 
And you should see how deeply I could reason 
Of love in all its shapes, beginnings, ends ; 
Of moral qualities in their diverse aspects ; 
Of actions, and their laws and tendencies. 

Osw, You take it as it merits 

Mar. One a King, 

G-eneral or Cham, Sultan or Emperor, 
Strews twenty acres of good meadow-ground 
With carcases, in lineament and shape 
And substance, nothing differing from his own, 
Eut that they cannot stand up of themselves ; 
Another sits i' th' sun, and by the hour 
Moats kingcups in the brook — a Hero one 
We call, and scorn the other as Time's spendthrift ; 
But have they not a world of common ground 



124 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

To occupy — both fools, or wise alike, 
Each in his way ? 

Osw, Troth, I begin to think so. 

Mar, JSTow for the corner-stone of my philosophy : 
I would not give a denier for the man 
Who, on such provocation as this earth 
Yields, could not chuck his babe beneath the chin. 
And send it with a fillip to its grave. 

Osw, IN'ay, you leave me behind. 

Mar. That such a One, 

So pious in demeanour ! in his look 

So saintly and so pure 1 Hark 'e, my Friend, 

I'll plant myself before Lord Clifi'ord's Castle, 
A surly mastiff kennels at the gate. 
And he shall howl and I will laugh, a medley 
Most tunable. 

Osw, In faith, a pleasant scheme ; 

But take your sword along with you, for that 
Might in such neighbourhood find seemly use. — 
But first, how wash our hands of this old Man ? 

Mar. Oh yes, that mole, that viper in the path ; 
Plague on my memory, him I had forgotten. 

Osw, You know we left him sitting — see him 
yonder. 

Mar. Ha ! ha !— 

Osw. As 'twill be but a moment's work, 

I will stroll on ; you follow when 'tis done. [Exeunt, 



Scene changes to another part of the Moor at a short distance — 
Herbert is discovered seated on a stone. 

Ser, A sound of laughter, too ! — 'tis well — I feared, 
The Stranger had some pitiable sorrow 



THE BORDERERS. 125 

Pressing upon his solitary heart. 

Hush ! — 'tis the feeble and earth-loving wind 

That creeps along the bells of the crisp heather. 

Alas ! 'tis cold — I shiver in the sunshine — 

What can this mean ? There is a psalm that speaks 

Of Grod's parental mercies — with Idonea 

I used to sing it. — Listen ! — what foot is there ? 

Enter Marmaduke. 

Mar, {aside — looJcing at Herbert). And I have 
loved this Man ! and she hath loved him ! 
And I loved her, and she loves the Lord Clifford ! 
And there it ends ; — if this be not enough 
To make mankind merry for evermore, 
Then plain it is as day, that eyes were made 
Por a wise purpose — verily to weep with ! 

[LooJcing round. 

A pretty prospect this, a masterpiece 

Of Nature, finished with most curious skill ! 

(To Herbert). Good Baron, have you ever practised 

tillage ? 
Pray tell me what this land is worth by the acre ? 

Her, How glad I am to hear your voice ! I know not 
"Wherein I have offended you ; — last night 
I found in you the kindest of Protectors ; 
This morning, when I spoke of weariness. 
You from my shoulder took my scrip and threw it 
About your own ; but for these two hours past 
Once only have you spoken, when the lark 
Whirred from among the fern beneath our feet. 
And I, no coward in my better days, 
Was almost terrified. 



126 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Mar, That's excellent ! — 

So, you bethouglit you of the many ways 
In which a man may come to his end, whose crimes 
Have roused all Nature up against him — pshaw ! — 

Bier, For mercy's sake, is nobody in sight ? 
JSTo traveller, peasant, herdsman ? 

Mar. Not a soul : 

Here is a tree, ragged, and bent, and bare. 
That turns its goat's-beard flakes of pea-green moss 
From the stern breathing of the rough sea- wind ; 
This have we, but no other company : 
Commend me to the place. If a man should die 
And leave his body here, it were all one 
As he were twenty fathoms underground. 

Her, "Where is our common Friend ? 

Mar. A ghost, methinks — 

The Spirit of a murdered man, for instance — 
Might have fine room to ramble about here, 
A grand domain to squeak and gibber in. 

Her, Lost Man ! if thou have any close-pent guilt 
Pressing upon thy heart, and this the hour 
Of visitation 

Mar, A bold word from you I 

Her, Restore him. Heaven ! 

Mar. The desperate Wretch ! — A Flower, 
Fairest of all flowers, was she once, but now 
They have snapped her from the stem — Poh ! let her lie 
Besoiled with mire, and let the houseless snail 
Feed on her leaves. Tou knew her well — ay, there. 
Old Man ! you were a very Lynx, you knew 
The worm was in her 

Her, Mercy ! Sir, what mean you ? 

Mar. You have a Daughter ! 



THE BORDERERS. 127 

H.er, Oh tliat slie were here! — 

She hath an eje that sinks into all hearts, 
And if I have in aught offended you, 
Soon would her gentle voice make peace between us. 

3Iar, (aside), I do believe he weeps — I could weep 
too — 
There is a vein of her voice that runs through his : 
Even such a Man mj fancy bodied forth 
Prom the first moment that I loved the Maid ; 
And for his sake I loved her more : these tears — 
I did not think that aught was left in me 
Of what I have been — yes, I thank thee, Heaven ! 
One happy thought has passed across my mind, 
— It may not be — I am cut off from man ; 
No more shall I be man — no more shall I 
Have human feelings! — {To Herbert) — IN'ow, for a 

little more 
About your Daughter ! 

Her. Troops of armed men, 

Met in the roads, would bless us ; little children, 
Pushing along in the full tide of play, 
Stood silent as we passed them ! I have heard 
The boisterous carman, in the miry road, 
Check his loud whip and hail us with mild voice. 
And speak with milder voice to his poor beasts. 

Mar. And whither were you going ? 

Her. Learn, young Man, 

To fear the virtuous, and reverence misery, 
"Whether too much for patience, or, like mine, 
Softened till it becomes a gift of mercy. 

Mar, Now, this is as it should be ! 

Her, I am weak ! — 

My Daughter does not know how weak I am ; 



128 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

And, as thou see'st, under the arch of heaven 
Here do I stand, alone, to helplessness, 
By the good God, our common Father, doomed! — 
But I had once a spirit and an arm 

Mar, ISTow, for a word about your Barony : 
I fancy when you left the Holy Land, 
And came to — what's your title — eh ? your claims 
"Were undisputed ! 

JEEer, Like a mendicant, 

Whom no one comes to meet, I stood alone; — 
I murmured — but, remembering Him who feeds 
The pelican and ostrich of the desert, 
From my own threshold I looked up to Heaven 
And did not want glimmerings of quiet hope. 
So, from the court I passed, and down the brook. 
Led by its murmur, to the ancient oak 
I came ; and when I felt its cooling shade, 
I sate me down, and cannot but believe — 
While in my lap I held my little Babe 
And clasped her to my heart, my heart that ached 
More with delight than grief — I heard a voice 
Such as by Cherith on Elijah called ; 
It said, " I will be with thee." A little boy, 
A shepherd-lad, ere yet my trance was gone. 
Hailed us as if he had been sent from heaven. 
And said, with tears, that he would be our guide : 
I had a better guide — that innocent Babe — 
Her, who hath saved me, to this hour, from harm, 
From cold, from hunger, penury, and death ; 
To whom I owe the best of all the good 
I have, or wish for, upon earth — and more 
And higher far than lies within earth's bounds : 
Therefore I bless her : when I think of Man, 



THE BORDERERS. 129 

I bless her with sad spirit, — when of Grod, 
I bless her in the fulness of my joy ! 

Mar, The name of daughter in his mouth, he prays ! 
With nerves so steady, that the very flies 
Sit unmolested on his staff*. — Innocent ! — 
If he were innocent — then he would tremble 
And be disturbed, as I am. {Turning aside?) I have 

read 
In Story, what men now alive have witnessed. 
How, when the People's mind was racked with doubt. 
Appeal was made to the great Judge : the Accused 
With naked feet walked over burning ploughshares. 
Here is a Man by Nature's hand prepared 
For a like trial, but more merciful. 
Why else have I been led to this bleak Waste ? 
Eare is it, without house or track, and destitute 
Of obvious shelter, as a shipless sea. 
Here will I leave him — here — All-seeing God ! 
Such as he is, and sore perplexed as I am, 
I will commit him to this final Ordeal ! — 
He heard a voice — a shepherd-lad came to him 
And was his guide ; if once, why not again. 
And in this desert ? If never — then the whole 
Of what he says, and looks, and does, and is, 
Makes np one damning falsehood. Leave him here 
To cold and hunger ! — Pain is of the heart. 
And what are a few throes of bodily suff'ering 
If they can waken one pang of remorse ? 

\Qoes up to Herbert. 
Old Man ! my wrath is as a flame burnt out. 
It cannot be rekindled. Thou art here 
Led by my hand to save thee from perdition ; 
Thou wilt have time to breathe and think- 



130 POEMS WKITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Rer. Oh, Mercy ! 

Mar. I know the need that all men have of mercy, 
And therefore leave thee to a righteous judgment. 

Her. My Child, my blessed Child ! 

Mar. No more of that ; 

Thou wilt have many guides if thou art innocent ; 
Tea, from the utmost corners of the earth, 
That Woman will come o'er this Waste to save thee. 
[^He 'pauses and looks at Herbert's staff. 
Ha ! what is here ? and carved by her own hand ! 

[Reads upon the staff. 
" I am eyes to the blind, saith the Lord. 
He that puts his trust in me shall not fail 1" 
Yes, be it so ; — repent and be forgiven — 
God and that staff are now thy only guides. 

[He leaves Herbert on the Moor. 



Scene, an eminence, a Beacon on the summit. 
Lacy, Wallace, Lennox, &c. &c. 
Several of the Band {confusedly). But patience ! 
One of the Band. Curses on that Traitor, 

Oswald ! — 
Our Captain made a prey to foul device ! — 

Len, (to Wal.). His tool, the wandering Beggar, 
made last night 
A plain confession, such as leaves no doubt. 
Knowing what otherwise we know too well. 
That she revealed the truth. Stand by me now ; 
Por rather would I have a nest of vipers 
Between my breast-plate and my skin, than make 
Oswald my special enemy, if you 
Deny me your support. 



THE BORDERERS. 131 

Lacy. We have been fooled — 

But for the motive ? 

Wal, Natures such as his 

Spin motives out of their own bowels, Lacy ! 
I learned this when I was a Confessor. 
I know him well ; there needs no other motive 
Than that most strange incontinence in crime 
Which haunts this Oswald. Power is life to him 
And breath and being ; where he cannot govern, 
He will destroy. 

Lacy, To have been trapped like moles ! — 

Yes, you are right, we need not hunt for motives : 
There is no crime from which this man would shrink ; 
He recks not human law ; and I have noticed 
That often when the name of Grod is uttered, 
A sudden blankness overspreads his face. 

luen. Yet, reasoner as he is, his pride has built 
Some uncouth superstition of its own. 

Wal, I have seen traces of it. 

Len, Once he headed 

A band of Pirates in the Norway seas ; 
And when the King of Denmark summoned him 
To the oath of fealty, I well remember, 
'Twas a strange answer that he made ; he said, 
" I hold of Spirits, and the Sun in heaven." 

Lacy, He is no madman. 

Wal, A most subtle doctor 

Were that man, who could draw the line that parts 
Pride and her daughter. Cruelty, from Madness, 
That should be scourged, not pitied. Eestless Minds, 
Such Minds as find amid their fellow-men 
No heart that loves them, none that they can love, 

K 2 



132 POEMS WKITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Will turn perforce and seek for sympathy 
In dim relation to imagined Beings. 

One of the Band. "What if lie mean to offer up our 
Captain 
An expiation and a sacrifice 
To those infernal fiends ! 

Wal, Now, if the event 

Should be as Lennox has foretold, then swear, 
My Priends, his heart shall have as many wounds 
As there are daggers here. 

Lacy. "What need of swearing ! 

One of the Band. Let us away ! 

Another, Away ! 

A third. Hark ! how the horns 

Of those Scotch Eovers echo through the vale. 

Lacy. Stay you behind ; and when the sun is down, 
Light up this beacon. 

One of the Band. You shall be obeyed. 

\They go out together. 



Scene, the Wood on the edge of the Moor. 
Marmaduke {alone). 
Mar, Deep, deep and vast, vast beyond human 
thought. 
Yet calm. — I could believe, that there was here 
The only quiet heart on earth. In terror, 
Eemembered terror, there is peace and rest. 

Enter Oswald. 
Osw. Ha ! my dear Captain. 

Mar, A later meeting, Oswald, 

"Would have been better timed. 



TPIE BORDEKERS. 133 

Osio. Alone, I see ; 

You have done your duty. I had hopes, which now 
I feel that you will justify. 

Mar, I had fears, 

From which I have freed myself — but 'tis my wish 
To be alone, and therefore we must part. 

Osw, Nay, then — I am mistaken. There's a weak- 
ness 
About you still ; you talk of solitude — 
I am your friend. 

Mar, What need of this assurance 

At any time ? and why given now ? 

Osw, Because 

You are now in truth my Master ; you have taught me 
What there is not another living man 
Had strength to teach ; — and therefore gratitude 
Is bold, and would relieve itself by praise. 

Mar, Wherefore press this on me ? 

Osw, Because I feel 

That you have shown, and by a signal instance. 
How they who would be just must seek the rule 
By diving for it into their own bosoms. 
To-day you have thrown oif a tyranny 
That lives but in the torpid acquiescence 
Of our emasculated souls, the tyranny 
Of the world's masters, with the musty rules 
By which they uphold their craft from age to age : 
You have obeyed the only law that sense 
Submits to recognise ; the immediate law, 
From the clear light of circumstances, flashed 
Upon an independent Intellect. 
Henceforth new prospects open on your path ; 
Your faculties should grow with the demand ; 



134' POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

I still will be your friend, v/ill cleave to you 
Through good and evil, obloquy and scorn, 
Oft as tbey dare to follow on your steps. 

Mar. I would be left alone. 

Osw, (exultingly) . I know your motives ! 

I am not of the world's presumptuous judges, 
"Who damn where they can neither see nor feel, 
With a hard-hearted ignorance ; your struggles 
I witnessed, and now hail your victory. 

Mar, Spare me awhile that greeting. 

Osw. It may be, 

That some there are, squeamish half-thinking cowards, 
Who will turn pale upon you, call you murderer. 
And you will walk in solitude among them. 
A mighty evil for a strong-built mind ! — 
Join twenty tapers of unequal height 
And light them joined, and you will see the less 
How 'twill burn down the taller ; and they all 
Shall prey upon the tallest. Solitude ! — 
The Eagle lives in Solitude ! 

Mar. Even so, 

The Sparrow so on the housetop, and I, 
The weakest of God's creatures, stand resolved 
To abide the issue of my act, alone. 

Osw. Now would you ? and for ever ? — My young 
Friend, 
As time advances either w^e become 
The prey or masters of our ow^n past deeds. 
Fellowship we must have, willing or no ; 
And if good Angels fail, slack in their duty. 
Substitutes, turn our faces where we may, 
Are still forthcoming ; some which, though they bear 
111 names, can render no ill serviceSj 



THE BORDERERS. 135 

In recompense for what themselves required. 
So meet extremes in this mysterious world, 
And opposites thus melt into each other. 

Mar. Time, since Man first drew breath, has never 
moved 
With such a weight upon his wings as now ; 
But they will soon be lightened. 

Osw, Ay, look up — 

Cast round you your mind's eye, and you will learn 
Fortitude is the child of Enterprise : 
Great actions move our admiration, chiefly 
Because they carry in themselves an earnest 
That we can suffer greatly. 

Mar. Very true. 

Osw. Action is transitory — a step, a blow, 
The motion of a muscle — this way or that — 
'Tis done, and in the after-vacancy 
"We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed : 
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark, 
And shares the nature of infinity. 

Mar. Truth — and I feel it. 

Osw. What ! if you had bid 

Eternal farewell to unmingled joy 
And the light dancing of the thoughtless heart ; 
It is the toy of fools, and little fit 
Eor such a world as this. The wise abjure 
All thoughts whose idle composition lives 
In the entire forgetfulness of pain. 
— I see I have disturbed you. 

Mar, By no means. 

Osw. Compassion ! — pity ! — pride can do without 
them ; 
And what if you should never know them more ! — 



136 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

He is a puny soul who, feeling pain, 
Finds ease because another feels it too. 
If e'er I open out this heart of mine 
It shall be for a nobler end — to teach 
And not to purchase puling sympathy. 
— ISTay, you are pale. 

Mar. It may be so. 

Osw. Eemorse — 

It cannot live with thought ; think on, think on, 
And it will die. What ! in this universe, 
Where the least things control the greatest, where 
The faintest breath that breathes can move a world ; 
What ! feel remorse, where, if a cat had sneezed, 
A leaf had fallen, the thing had never been 
Whose very shadow gnaws us to the vitals. 

Mar, JSTow, whither are you wandering ? That a 
man 
So used to suit his language to the time. 
Should thus so widely differ from himself— 
It is most strange. 

Osw, Murder ! — what's in the word ! — 

I have no cases by me ready made 
To fit all deeds. Carry him to the Camp ! — 
A shallow project ; — you of late have seen 
More deeply, taught us that the institutes 
Of ^N'ature, by a cunning usurpation 
Banished from human intercourse, exist 
Only in our relations to the brutes 
That make the fields their dwelling. If a snake 
Crawl from beneath our feet we do not ask 
A license to destroy him : our good governors 
Hedge in the life of every pest and plague 
That bears the shape of man ; and for what purpose. 



THE BORDERERS. 137 

But to protect themselves from extirpation ? — 
This flimsy barrier you have overleaped. 

Mar, My Office is fulfilled— the Man is now 
Delivered to the Judge of all things. 

Osw. Dead ! 

Mar. I have borne my burthen to its destined end, 

Osw, This instant we'll return to our companions — 
Oh how I long to see their faces again ! 

Enter Idonea, with Pilgrims who continue their journey. 

Idon, (after some time). What, Marmaduke! now 
thou art mine for ever. 
And Oswald, too! [To Marmaduke). On will we 

to my Pather 
With the glad tidings which this day hath brought ; 
We'll go together, and, such proof received 
Of his own rights restored, his gratitude 
To Grod above will make him feel for ours. 

Osw, I interrupt you ? 

Idon. Think not so. 

Mar, Idonea, 

That I should ever live to see this moment ! 

Idon, Forgive me. — Oswald knows it all — he knows, 
Each word of that unhappy letter fell 
As a blood drop from my heart. 

Osw, 'Twas even so. 

Mar, I have much to say, but for whose ear ? — not 
thine. 

Idon, 111 can I bear that look — Plead for me, Oswald! 
You are my Father's Friend. 
{To Marmaduke). Alas, you know not, 

And never can you know, how much he loved me. 
Twice had he been to me a father, twice 



138 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Had given me breath, and was I not to be 

His daughter, once his daughter ? could I withstand 

His pleading face, and feel his clasping arms, 

And hear his prayer that I would not forsake him 

In his old age [Hides her face. 

Mar. Patience — Heaven grant me patience ! — 

She weeps, she weeps — my brain shall burn for hours 
Ere I can shed a tear. 

Idon. I was a woman ; 

And, balancing the hopes that are the dearest 
To womankind with duty to my Father, 
T yielded up those precious hopes, which nought 
On earth could else have wrested from me ; — if erring, 
Oh let me be forgiven ! 

Mar. I do forgive thee. 

Idon. But take me to your arms — this breast, alas ! 
It throbs, and you have a heart that does not feel it. 

Mar. {exultingly) . She is innocent. [He embraces her. 

Osw. {aside). Were I a Moralist, 

I should make wondrous revolution here ; 
It were a quaint experiment to show 
The beauty of truth — [Addressing them. 

I see I interrupt you ; 
I shall have business with you, Marmaduke ; 
Follow me to the Hostel. [Exit Oswald. 

Idon. Marmaduke, 

This is a happy day. My Father soon 
Shall sun himself before his native doors ; 
The lame, the hungry, will be welcome there. 
'No more shall he complain of wasted strength. 
Of thoughts that fail, and a decaying heart ; 
His good works will be balm and life to him. 

Mar. This is most strange! — I know not what it was, 



THE BORDERERS. 139 

But there was something whicli most plainly said. 
That thou wert innocent. 

Idon, How innocent ! — 

Oh heavens ! you've been deceived. 

Mar, Thou art a Woman, 

To bring perdition on the universe. 

Idon, Already I've been punished to the height 
Of my offence. [Smiling affectionately. 

I see you love me still. 
The labours of my hand are still your joy ; 
Bethink you of the hour when on your shoulder 
I hung this belt. 

[Pointing to the belt on which was suspended Herbert's scrip. 

Mar, Mercy of Heaven ! [Sin^s. 

Idon, What ails you ! [Distractedly. 

Mar. The scrip that held his food, and I forgot 
To give it back again ! 

Idon. What mean your words ? 

Mar. I know not what I said — all may be well. 

Idon. That smile hath life in it ! 

Mar. This road is perilous ; 

I will attend you to a Hut that stands 
Near the wood's edge — rest there to-night, I pray you : 
Eor me, I have business, as you heard, with Oswald, 
But will return to you by break of day. [Exeunt. 



140 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 



ACT IV. 

Scene, A desolate prospect— a ridge of rocks — a Chapel on the 
summit of one — Moon behind the rocJcs — night stormy — irregular 
sound of a Bell — Herbert enters exhausted. 

Her, That Chapel-bell in mercy seemed to guide me, 
But now it mocks my steps ; its fitful stroke 
Can scarcely be the work of human hands. 
Hear me, ye Men, upon the cliffs, if such 
There be who pray nightly before the Altar. 
Oh that I had but strength to reach the place ! 
My Child — my child — dark — dark — I faint — this 

wind — 
These stifling blasts — ^Grod help me ! 

Filter Eldred. 

Md. Better this bare rock, 

Though it were tottering over a man's head, 
Than a tight case of dungeon walls for shelter 
Prom such rough dealing. [A moaning voice is heard. 

Ha ! what sound is that ? 
Trees creaking in the wind (but none are here) 
Send forth such noises — and that weary bell ! 
Surely some evil Spirit abroad to-night 
Is ringing it — 'twould stop a Saint in prayer, 
And that — what is it ? never was sound so like 
A human groan. Ha ! what is here ? Poor Man — 
Murdered ! alas ! speak — speak, I am your friend : 
No answer — hush — lost wretch, he lifts his hand 
And lays it to his heart — {Kneels to Mm) . I pray you 

speak ! 
What has befallen you ? 



THE BORDERERS. 141 

Her, {feebly). A stranger has done this, 

And in the arms of a stranger I must die. 

Eld. Naj, think not so : come, let me raise you up : 

[Raises Mm. 
This is a dismal place — well — that is well — 
I was too fearful — take me for your guide 
And your support — my hut is not far oif. 

[Draios him gently off the stage. 



Scene, a room in the Hostel — Maemaduke and Oswald. 

Mar. But for Idonea ! — I have cause to think 
That she is innocent. 

Osw. Leave that thought awhile, 

As one of those beliefs which in their hearts 
Lovers lock up as pearls, though oft no better 
Than feathers clinging to their points of passion. 
This day's event has laid on me the duty 
Of opening out my story ; you must hear it. 
And without further preface. — In my youth, 
Except for that abatement which is paid 
By envy as a tribute to desert, 
I was the pleasure of all hearts, the darling 
Of every tongue — as you are now. You've heard 
That I embarked for Syria. On our voyage 
Was hatched among the crew a foul Conspiracy 
Against my honour, in the which our Captain 
"Was, I believed, prime Agent. The wind fell ; 
We lay becalmed week after week, until 
The water of the vessel was exhausted ; 
I felt a double fever in my veins, 
Yet rage suppressed itself; — to a deep stillness 
Did my pride tame my pride ; — for many days, 



142 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

On a dead sea under a burning sky, 

I brooded o'er my injuries, deserted 

By man and nature ; — if a breeze bad blown, 

It might have found its way into my heart, 

And I had been — no matter — do you mark me ? 

Mar, Quick — to the point — ^if any untold crime 
Doth haunt your memory. 

Osw. Patience, hear me further ! — 

One day in silence did we drift at noon 
By a bare rock, narrow, and white, and bare ; 
!N"o food was there, no drink, no grass, no shade, 
No tree, nor jutting eminence, nor form 
Inanimate large as the body of man, 
Nor any living thing whose lot of life 
Might stretch beyond the measure of one moon. 
To dig for water on the spot, the Captain 
Landed with a small troop, myself being one : 
There I reproached him with his treachery. 
Imperious at all times, his temper rose ; 
He struck me ; and that instant had I killed him. 
And put an end to his insolence, but my Comrades 
Eushed in between us : then did I insist 
(All hated him, and I was stung to madness) 
That we should leave him there, alive ! — we did so. 

Mar, And he was famished ? 

Osw, Naked was the spot ; 

Methinks I see it now — how in the sun 
Its stony surface glittered like a shield ; 
And in that miserable place we left him. 
Alone but for a swarm of minute creatures 
Not one of which could help him while alive, 
Or mourn him dead. 

Mar, A man by men cast off, 



THE BORDERERS. 143 

Left without burial ! nay, not dead nor dying, 
But standing, walking, stretching forth his arms, 
In all things like ourselves, but in the agony 
"With which he called for mercy ; and — even so — 
He was forsaken ? 

Osw, There is a power in sounds : 
The cries he uttered might have stopped the boat 
That bore us through the water ^ 

Mar. You returned 

Upon that dismal hearing — did you not ? 

Osw. Some scoffed at him with hellish mockery. 
And laughed so loud it seemed that the smooth sea 
Did from some distant region echo us. 

Mar. "We all are of one blood, our veins are filled 
At the same poisonous fountain ! 

Osw. 'Twas an island 

Only by sufferance of the winds and waves, 
Which with their foam could cover it at will. 
I know not how he perished ; but the calm, 
The same dead calm, continued many days. 

Mar. But his own crime had brought on him this 
doom. 
His wickedness prepared it ; these expedients 
Are terrible, yet ours is not the fault. 

Osw. The man was famished, and was innocent ! 

Mar. Impossible ! 

Osw. The man had never wronged me. 

Mar. Banish the thought, crush it, and be at 
peace. 
His guilt was marked — these things could never be 
Were there not eyes that see, and for good ends, 
Where ours are baffled. 

Osw. I had been deceived. 



144 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Mar. And from that hour the miserable man 
ISTo more was heard of ? 

Osw. I had been betrayed. 

Mar. And he found no deliverance ! 
Osw. The Crew 

Grave me a hearty welcome ; they had laid 
The plot to rid themselves, at any cost, 
Of a tyrannic Master whom they loathed. 
So we pursued our voyage : when we landed. 
The tale was spread abroad ; my power at once 
Shrunk from me; plans and schemes, and lofty hopes — 
All vanished. I gave way — do you attend ? 
Mar. The Crew deceived you ? 
Osw, ^3;y, command yourself. 

Mar. It is a dismal night — how the wind howls ! 
Osw. I hid my head within a Convent, there 
Lay passive as a dormouse in mid-winter. 
That was no life for me — I was o'erthrown. 
But not destroyed. 

Mar. The proofs — you ought to have seen 

The guilt — have touched it — felt it at your heart — 
As I have done. 

Osw. A fresh tide of Crusaders 

Drove by the place of my retreat : three nights 
Did constant meditation dry my blood ; 
Three sleepless nights I passed in sounding on, 
Through words and things, a dim and perilous way ; 
And, wheresoe'er I turned me, I beheld 
A slavery compared to which the dungeon 
And clanking chains are perfect liberty. 
You understand me — I was comforted ; 
I saw that every possible shape of action 
Might lead to good — I saw it and burst forth 



THE BORDERERS. 145 

Thirsting for some of those exploits that fill 
The earth for sure redemption of lost peace. 

[Marking Marmaduke's countenance. 
ISTaj, you have had the worst. Perocity' 
Subsided in a moment, like a wind 
That drops down dead out of a sky it vexed. 
And yet I had within me evermore 
A salient spring of energy ; I mounted 
Prom action up to action with a mind 
That never rested — without meat or drink 
Have I lived many days — my sleep was bound 
To purposes of reason — not a dream 
Eut had a continuity and substance 
That waking life had never power to give. 

Mar. O wretched Human-kind ! — Until the mystery 
Of all this world is solved, well may we envy 
The worm, that, underneath a stone whose weight 
Would crush the lion's paw with mortal anguish, 
Doth lodge, and feed, and coil, and sleep, in safety. 
Pell not tlie wrath of Heaven upon those traitors ? 

Osw. Grive not to them a thought. Erom Palestine 
"We marched to Syria : oft I left the Camp, 
"When all that multitude of hearts was still. 
And followed on, through woods of gloomy cedar. 
Into deep chasms troubled by roaring streams j 
Or from the top of Lebanon surveyed 
The moonlight desert, and the moonlight sea : 
In these my lonely wanderings I perceived 
What mighty objects do impress their forms 
To elevate our intellectual being ; 
And felt, if aught on earth deserves a curse, 
'Tis that worst principle of ill which dooms 



146 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

A thing so great to perish self-consumed. 
— So much for my remorse ! 

Mar. Unhappy Man! 

Osw. When from these forms I turned to contemplate 
The "World's opinions and her usages, 
I seemed a Being who had passed alone 
Into a region of futurity, 
Whose natural element was freedom 

Mar. Stop— 

T may not, cannot, follow thee. 

Osw. You must. 

I had been nourished by the sickly food 
Of popular applause. I now perceived 
That we are praised, only as men in us 
Do recognise some image of themselves. 
An abject counterpart of what they are. 
Or the empty thing that they would wish to be. 
I felt that merit has no surer test 
Than obloquy ; that, if we wish to serve 
The world in substance, not deceive by show, 
We must become obnoxious to its hate. 
Or fear disguised in simulated scorn. 

Mar. I pity, can forgive, you ; but those wretches — 
That monstrous perfidy ! 

Osw. Keep down your wrath. 

Palse Shame discarded, spurious Fame despised, 
Twin sisters both of Ignorance, I found 
Life stretched before me smooth as some broad way 
Cleared for a monarch's progress. Priests might spin 
Their veil, but not for me — 'twas in fit place 
Among its kindred cobwebs. I had been. 
And in that dream had left my native land. 
One of Love's simple bondsmen — the soft chain 



THE BORDERERS. 147 

"Was off for ever ; and the men, from whom 
This liberation came, jou would destroy : 
Join me in thanks for their blind services. 

Mar, 'Tis a strange aching that, when we would curse 
And cannot. — You have betrayed me — I have done — 
I am content — I know that he is guiltless — 
That both are guiltless, without spot or stain, 
Mutually consecrated. Poor old Man ! 
And I had heart for this, because thou lovedst 
Her who from very infancy had been 
Light to thy path, warmth to thy blood ! — Together 

[Turning to Oswald. 
"We propped his steps, he leaned upon us both. 

Osw. Ay, we are coupled by a chain of adamant ; 
Let us be fellow-labourers, then, to enlarge 
Man's intellectual empire. We subsist 
In slavery : all is slavery ; we receive 
Laws, but we ask not whence those laws have come ; 
We need an inward sting to goad us on. 

Mar. Have you betrayed me ? Speak to that. 

Osw. The mask, 

Which for a season I have stooped to wear, 
Must be cast off. — Know then that I was urged, 
(For other impulse let it pass) was driven, 
To seek for sympathy, because I saw 
In you a mirror of my youthful self; 
I would have made us equal once again. 
But that was a vain hope. You have struck home, 
With, a few drops of blood cut short the business ; 
Therein for ever you must yield to me. 
But what is done will save you from the blank 
Of living without knowledge that you live : 
Now you are suffering — for the future day, 

L 2 



148 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

'Tis his who will command it. — Think of my story — 
Herbert is innocent. 

Mar. (in a faint voice ^ and doubtingly). You do but 
echo 
My own wild words ? 

Osw. Young Man, the seed must lie 

Hid in the earth, or there can be no harvest ; 
'Tis Nature's law. "What I have done in darkness 
I will avow before the face of day. 
Herbert is innocent. 

Mar. "What fiend could prompt 

This action ? Innocent ! — oh, breaking heart ! — 
Alive or dead, I'll find him. [Exit. 

Osw. Alive — perdition! [Exit. 

Scene, the inside of a poor Cottage. 
Eleanor and Idonea seated. 
Idon. The storm beats hard — Mercy for poor or rich, 
"X^^hose heads are shelterless in such a night ! 
A Voice without. Holla ! to bed, good Folks, within ! 
Elea. O save us ! 

Idon. What can this mean ? 

Mea. Alas, for my poor husband ! — 

We'll have a counting of our flocks to-morrow ; 
The wolf keeps festival these stormy nights : 
Be calm, sweet Lady, they are wassailers 

[The voices die away in the distance. 
E-eturning from their Feast — my heart beats so — 
A noise at midnight does so frighten me. 

Idon. Hush ! [Listening. 

Mea. They are gone. On such a night, my 

husband, 



THE BORDERERS. . 149 

Dragged from liis bed, was cast into a dungeon, 
"Where, hid from me, he counted many years, 
A criminal in no one's eyes but theirs — 
Not even in theirs — whose brutal violence 
So dealt with him. 

Idon. I have a noble Friend 

Pirst among youths of knightly breeding, One 
"Who lives but to protect the weak or injured. 
There again ! [Listening. 

Elea. 'Tis my husband's foot. Good Eldred 

Has a kind heart ; but his imprisonment 
Has made him fearful, and he'll never be 
The man he was. 

Idon. I will retire ; — good night ! 

[She goes within. 

Enter Eldred, {hides a hundle), 

JEId. ]N"ot yet in bed, Eleanor ! — there are stains in 
that frock which must be washed out. 

JElea. What has befallen you ? 

Uld. I am belated, and you must know the cause — 
(speaking low) that is the blood of an unhappy Man. 

Mea. Oh ! we are undone for ever. 

JEld. Heaven forbid that I should lift my hand 
against any man. Eleanor, I have shed tears to-night, 
and it comforts me to think of it. 

Ulea. Where, where is he ? 

Uld. I have done him no harm, but it will be 

forgiven me ; it would not have been so once. 

JElea. You have not huried anything ? You are no 
richer than when you left me ? 

Uld. Be at peace ; I am innocent. 

Ulea. Then God be thanked — 

[A short pause ; she falls upon his neck. 



150 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

JEld. To-niglit I met with an old Man lying stretclied 
upon the ground — a sad spectacle : I raised him up 
wdth a hope that we might shelter and restore him. 

Elea. {as if ready to run). Where is he ? You 
w^ere not able to bring him all the way wdth you ; let 
us return, I can help you. [Eldred shakes Us head. 

Eld. He did not seem to wish for life : as I w^as 
struggling on, by the light of the moon I saw the 
stains of blood upon my clothes — he waved his hand, 
as if it were all useless ; and I let him sink again to 
the ground. 

JElea. Oh that I had been by your side ! 

Eld. I tell you his hands and his body were cold 
— how could I disturb his last moments ? he strove to 
turn from me as if he wished to settle into sleep. 

Elea. But, for the stains of blood — 

Eld. He must have fallen, I fancy, for his head was 
cut ; but I think his malady was cold and hunger. 

Elea. Oh, Eldred, I shall never be able to look up 
at this roof in storm or fair but I shall tremble. 

Eld. Is it not enough that my ill stars have kept 
me abroad to-night till this hour ? I come home, and 
this is my comfort ! 

Elea. But did he say nothing which might have 
set you at ease ? 

Eld. I thought he grasped my hand while he was 
muttering something about his Child — his Daughter 
— {starting as if he heard a noise). "What is that ? 

Elea. Eldred, you are a father. 

Eld. Grod knows what was in my heart, and will 
not curse my son for my sake. 

Elea. But you prayed by him ? you waited the 
hour of his release ? 



THE BORDERERS. 151 

Md. The niglit was wasting fast ; I liave no friend ; 
I am spited by the world — his wound terrified me — 
if I had brought him along with me, and he had 

died in my arms ! 1 am sure I heard something 

breathing — and this chair ! 

Elea. Oh, Eldred, you will die alone. You will 
have nobody to close your eyes — no hand to grasp 
your dying hand — I shall be in my grave. A curse 
will attend us all. . 

Md, Have you forgot your own troubles when I 
was in the dungeon ? 

Elea, And you left him alive ? 

JEld. Alive ! — the damps of death were upon him 
— he could not have survived an hour. 

JSlea, In the cold, cold night. 

Eld, (in a savage tone). Ay, and his head was 
bare ; I suppose you would have had me lend my 
bonnet to cover it. — You will never rest till I am 
brought to a felon's end. 

Elea, Is there nothing to be done ? cannot we go 
to the Convent ? 

JEld. Ay, and say at once that I murdered 
him ! 

Mea. Eldred, I know that ours is the only house 
upon the Waste ; let us take heart ; this Man may 
be rich ; and could he be saved by our means, his 
gratitude may reward us. 

Md, 'Tis all in vain. 

JElea. But let us make the attempt. This old Man 
may have a wife, and he may have children — let us 
return to the spot ; we may restore him, and his eyes 
may yet open upon those that love him. 

Eld, He will never open them more ; even when 



152 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

lie spoke to me, he kept tliem firmlj sealed as if he 
had been blind. 

Idon. {rushing ouf). It is, it is, mj Eather — 

JEld. We are betrayed (loohing at Idonea). 

JElea. His Daughter ! — Grod have mercy ! (turning 
to Idonea). 

Idon. (sinlcing down). Oh! lift me up and carry 
me to the place. 
You are safe ; the whole world shall not harm you. 

Ulea, This Lady is his Daughter. 

Hid, {moved) . I'll lead you to the spot. 

Idon. (springing up) . Alive ! — you heard him 
breathe ? quick, quick — \_Exeunt. 



ACT y. 

Scene, A wood on the edge of the Waste. 
Enter Oswald and a Forester. 

For. He leaned upon the bridge that spans the glen, 
And down into the bottom cast his eye. 
That fastened there, as it would check the current. 

Osw. He listened too ; did you not say he listened ? 

For. As if there came such moaning from the flood 
As is heard often after stormy nights. 

Osw. But did he utter nothing ? 

For, See him there ! 

Marmaduke appearing. 
Mar. Buzz, buzz, ye black and winged freebooters ; 
That is no substance which ye settle on ! 

For. His senses play him false ; and see, his arms 



THE BORDERERS. 153 

Outspread, as if to save himself from falling ! — 
Some terrible phantom I believe is now 
Passing before him, such as God will not 
Permit to visit any but a man 
"Who has been guilty of some horrid crime. 

[Marmaduke disappears. 

Osw, The game is up ! — 

For. If it be needful, Sir, 

I will assist you to lay hands upon him. 

Osw. No, no, my Priend, you may pursue your 
business — 
'Tis a poor wretch of an unsettled mind, 
'Who has a trick of straying from his keepers ; 
We must be gentle. Leave him to my care. 

[Exit Forester. 
If his own eyes play false with him, these freaks 
Of fancy shall be quickly tamed by mine ; 
The goal is reached. My Master shall become 
A shadow of myself — made by myself. 



Scene, the edge of the Moor, 
Marmaduke and Eldred enter from opposite sides. 
Mar. {raising his eyes and perceiving Eldred) . In 
any corner of this savage Waste, 
Have you, good Peasant, seen a blind old Man ? 

Md. I heard 

Mar, You heard him, where ? when heard him ? 
JEld. As you know. 

The first hours of last night were rough with storm : 
I had been out in search of a stray heifer ; 
Eeturning late, I heard a moaning sound ; 
Then, thinking that my fancy had deceived me, 



154 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

I hurried on, when straight a second moan, 
A human voice distinct, struck on my ear. 
So guided, distant a few steps, I found 
An aged Man, and such as you describe. 

Mar. You heard! — he called you to him ? Of all men 
The best and kindest ! — but where is he ? guide me. 
That I may see him. 

Eld. On a ridge of rocks 

A lonesome Chapel stands, deserted now : 
The bell is left, which no one dares remove ; 
And, when the stormy wind blows o'er the peak. 
It rings, as if a human hand were there 
To pull the cord. I guess he must have heard it ; 
And it had led him towards the precipice, 
To climb up to the spot whence the sound came ; 
Eut he had failed through weakness. From his hand 
His staff had dropped, and close upon the brink 
Of a small pool of water he was laid, 
As if he had stooped to drink, and so remained 
"Without the strength to rise. 

Mar. "Well, well, he lives, 

And all is safe : what said he ? 

Eld. But few words : 

He only spake to me of a dear Daughter, 
Who, so he feared, would never see him more ; 
And of a Stranger to him. One by whom 
He had been sore misused ; but he forgave 
The wrong and the wrong-doer. You are troubled — 
Perhaps you are his son ? 

Mar. The All-seeing knows, 

I did not think he had a living Child. — 
But whither did you carry him ? 

Md. He w^as torn, 



THE BORDERERS. 155 

His head was bruised, and there was blood about 
him 

Mar, That was no work of mine. 

Eld. Nor was it mine. 

Mar, Eut had he strength to walk ? I could have 
borne him 
A thousand miles. 

JEld. I am in poverty, 

And know how busy are the tongues of men ; 
My heart was willing, Sir, but I am one 
Whose good deeds will not stand by their own light ; 
And, though it smote me more than words can tell, 
I left him. 

Mar, I believe that there are phantoms, 
That in the shape of man do cross our path 
On evil instigation, to make sport 
Of our distress — and thou art one of them ! 
But things substantial have so pressed on me 

Eld, My wife and children came into my mind. 

Mar, Oh Monster ! Monster ! there are three of us, 
And we shall howl together. 

[After a pause and in a feeble voice, 
I am deserted 
At my worst need, my crimes have in a net 
{Pointing to Eldred) Entangled this poor man. — 
"Where was it ? where ? [Dragging Mm along. 

Md. 'Tis needless ; spare your violence. His 
Daughter 

Mar. Ay, in the word a thousand scorpions lodge : 
This old man had a Daughter. 

Md, To the spot 

I hurried back with her. — O save me. Sir, 
Erom such a journey ! — —there was a black tree. 



156 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

A single tree ; slie thought it was lier Eather. — 

Oh Sir, I would not see that hour again 

For twenty lives. The daylight dawned, and now — 

Nay ; hear my tale, 'tis fit that you should hear it — 

As we approached, a solitary crow 

Kose from the spot ; — the Daughter clapped her hands, 

And then I heard a shriek so terrible 

[Marmaduke shrinks lack. 
The startled bird quivered upon the wing. 

Mar. Dead, dead ! — 

Mid. {after a pause) . A dismal matter. Sir, for me, 
And seems the like for you; if 'tis your wish, 
I'll lead you to his Daughter ; but 'twere best 
That she should be prepared ; I'll go before. 

Mar. There will be need of preparation. 

[Eldred goes off. 

Mea. (enters). Master! 

Your limbs sink under you, shall I support you ? 

Mar, (taking her arm). Woman, I've lent my body 
to the service 
Which now thou tak'st upon thee. God forbid 
That thou shouldst ever meet a like occasion 
With such a purpose in thine heart as mine was, 

Mea. Oh, why have I to do with things like these ? 

[Exeunt. 

Scene changes to the door of Eldred 's cottage — Idonea seated — 
enter Eldred. 

Md. Your Father, Lady, from a wilful hand 
Has met unkindness ; so indeed he told me, 
And yon remember such was my report : 
Erom what has just befallen me I have cause 
To fear the very worst. 



THE BORDERERS. 157 

Idon. My Pather is dead ; 

Why dost thou come to me with words like these ? 

Eld. A wicked Man should answer for his crimes. 

Idon. Thou seest me what I am. 

Eld. It was most heinous, 

And doth call out for vengeance. 

Idon. Do not add, 

I prithee, to the harm thou'st done already. 

Eld. Hereafter you will thank me for this service. 
Hard by, a Man I met, who, from plain proofs 
Of interfering Heaven, I have no doubt. 
Laid hands upon your Father. Fit it were 
You should prepare to meet him. 

Idon. I have nothing 

To do with others ; help me to my Father — 

\_She turns and sees Marmaduke leaning on Eleanor — 
throws herself upon his necJc, and after some time, 

In joy I met thee, but a few hours past ; 
And thus we meet again ; one haman stay 
Is left me still in thee. Nay, shake not so. 

Mar. In such a wilderness — to see no thing, 
'No, not the pitying moon ! 

Idon. And perish so. 

Mar. "Without a dog to moan for him. 

Idon. Think not of it, 

But enter there and see him how he sleeps, 
Tranquil as he had died in his own bed. 

Mar. Tranquil — why not ? 

Idon. Oh, peace ! 

Mar. He is at peace; 

His body is at rest : there was a plot, 
A hideous plot, against the soul of man : 



158 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

It took effect —and jet I baffled it, 
In some degree. 

Idon. Between us stood, I thought, 

A cup of consolation, filled from Heaven 
Por both our needs ; must I, and in thy presence. 
Alone partake of it ? — Beloved Marmaduke ! 

Mar, Give me a reason why the wisest thing 
That the earth owns shall never choose to die. 
But some one must be near to count his groans. 
The wounded deer retires to solitude. 
And dies in solitude : all things but man, 
All die in solitude. [Moving towards the cottage door. 

Mysterious God, 
If she had never lived I had not done it !— 

Idon. Alas, the thought of such a cruel death 
Has overwhelmed him. — I must follow. 

md. Lady ! 

You will do well ; {she goes') unjust suspicion may 
Cleave to this Stranger : if, upon his entering, 
The dead Man heave a groan, or from his side 
Uplift his hand — that would be evidence. 

Elea. Shame ! Eldred, shame ! 

Mar. (loth returning). The dead have but 

one face (to himself). 
And such a Man — so meek and unoffending — 
Helpless and harmless as a babe : a Man, 
By obvious signal to the world's protection, 
Solemnly dedicated — to decoy him ! — 

Idon. Oh, had you seen him living ! — 

Mar, I (so filled 

"With horror is this world) am unto thee 
The thing most precious, that it now contains : 
Therefore through me alone must be revealed 



THE BORDERERS. 159 

By whom thy Parent was destroyed, Idonea ! 
I have the proofs ! — 

Idon, O miserable Father ! 

Thou didst command me to bless all mankind ; 
Nor to this moment, have I ever wished 
Evil to any living thing ; but hear me, 
Hear me, ye Heavens I — {kneeling) — may vengeance 

haunt the fiend 
Tor this most cruel murder : let him live 
And move in terror of the elements ; 
The thunder send him on his knees to prayer 
In the open streets, and let him think he sees, 
If e'er he entereth the house of Grod, 
The roof, self-moved, unsettling o'er his head ; 
And let him, when he would lie down at night. 
Point to his wife the blood- drops on his pillow ! 

Mar, My voice was silent, but my heart hath joined 
thee. 

Idon, (leaning on Marmaduke). Left to the mercy 
of that savage Man ! 
How could he call upon his Child ! — Priend ! 

[Turns to Marmaduke. 
My faithful true and only Comforter. 

Mar, Ay, come to me and weep. (He hisses her.) 
{To Eld red). Tes, Varlet, look, 

The devils at such sights do clap their hands. 

[Eldred retires alarmed, 

Idon, Thy vest is torn, thy cheek is deadly pale ; 
Hast thou pursued the monster ? 

Mar, I have found him. — 

Oh ! would that thou hadst perished in the flames ! 

Idon, Here art thou, then can I be desolate ? — 

Mar, There was a time, when this protecting hand 



160 POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Availed against the mighty ; never more 
Shall blessings v^ait upon a deed of mine. 

Idon. Wild vrords for me to hear, for me, an orphan, 
Committed to thy guardianship by Heaven ; 
And, if thou hast forgiven me, let me hope, 
In this deep sorrow, trust, that T am thine 
For closer care ; — here, is no malady. [Taking Ms arm. 

Mar. There, is a malady — 
{Striking Ms heart and forehead') And here, and here, 
A mortal malady. — I am accurst : 
All nature curses me, and in my heart 
Thy curse is fixed ; the truth must be laid bare. 
It must be told, and borne. I am the man, 
(Abused, betrayed, but how it matters not) 
Presumptuous above all that ever breathed. 
Who, casting as I thought a guilty Person 
Upon Heaven's righteous judgment, did become 
An instrument of Piends. Through me, through me 
Thy Pather perished. 

Idon, Perished — by what mischance ? 

Mar. Beloved ! — if I dared, so would I call thee — 
Conflict must cease, and, in thy frozen heart. 
The extremes of suflering meet in absolute peace. 

[He gives her a letter. 

Idon. (reads). 'Be not surprised if you hear that 
some signal judgment has befallen the man who calls 
himself your father ; he is now with me, as his signa- 
ture will shew : abstain from conjecture till you see me. 

* Heebeet.' 

' MAEMilDUKE.' 

The writing Oswald's; the signature my Pather' s: 
{Looks steadily at the paper) And here is yours, — or 
do my eyes deceive me ? 



THE BOKDERERS. 161 

Tou have then seen my Father ? 

Mar. He has leaned 

Upon this arm. 

Idon, You led him towards the Convent ? 

Mar, That Convent was Stone-Arthur Castle. 
Thither 
We were his guides. I on that night resolved 
That he should wait thy coming till the day 
Of resurrection. 

Idon, Miserable Woman, 

Too quickly moved, too easily giving way, 
I put denial on thy suit, and hence, 
With the disastrous issue of last night, 
Thy perturbation, and these frantic words. 
Ee calm, I pray thee ! 

Mar, Oswald 

Idon, JN'ame him not. 

Enter female Beggar. 

Beg. And he is dead! — that Moor — hoAv shall I 
cross it ? 
By night, by day, never shall I be able 
To travel half a mile alone. — Grood Lady ! 
Forgive me ! — Saints forgive me. Had I thought 
It would have come to this ! — 

Idon, What brings you hither ? speak ! 

Beg, {^pointing to Marmadtjke) . This innocent 
Grentleman. Sweet heavens ! I told him 
Such tales of your dead Father ! — God is my judge, 
I thought there was no harm : but that bad Man, 
He bribed me with his gold, and looked so fierce. 
Mercy 1 I said I know not what — oh pity me — 
I said, sweet Lady, you were not his Daughter — 



162 ' POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH. 

Pitj me, I am haunted ; — thrice this day 

My conscience made me wish to be struck blind ; 

And then I would have prayed, and had no voice. 

Idon. (to Maemaduke). Was it my Eather ? — no, 
no, no, for he 
Was meek and patient, feeble, old and blind. 
Helpless, and loved me dearer than his life. 
— But hear me. For one question, I have a heart 
That will sustain me. Did you murder him ? 

Mar. JN'o, not by stroke of arm. But learn the 
process : 
Proof after proof was pressed upon me ; guilt 
Made evident, as seemed, by blacker guilt, 
Whose impious folds enwrapped even thee ; and truth 
And innocence, embodied in his looks. 
His words and tones and gestures, did but serve 
With me to aggravate his crimes, and heaped 
B/uin upon the cause for which they pleaded. 
Then pity crossed the path of my resolve : 
Confounded, I looked up to Heaven, and cast, 
Idonea ! thy blind Father, on the Ordeal 
Of the bleak Waste — left him — and so he died ! — 

[Idoistea sinks senseless ; Beggar, Eleanor, <&c., crowd 
round, and bear her off. 

Why may w^e speak these things, and do no more ; 
Why should a thrust of the arm have such a power. 
And words that tell these things be heard in vain ? 
She is not dead. Why ! — if I loved this Woman, 
I would take care she never woke again ; 
But she WILL wake, and she will weep for me. 
And say, no blame was mine — and so, poor fool. 
Will waste her curses on another name. 

[Ife walks about distractedly. 



THE BOKDERERS. 163 

Enter Oswald. 

Osw. (to himself). Strong to o'erturn, strong also 
to build up. [To Marmaduke. 

The starts and sallies of our last encounter 
Were natural enough ; but that, I trust, 
Is all gone bj. You have cast oiFthe chains 
That fettered your nobility of mind — 
Delivered heart and head ! 

Let us to Palestine ; 
This is a paltry field for enterprise. 

Mar. Aj, what shall we encounter next ? This 
issue — 
'Twas nothing more than darkness deepening darkness, 
And weakness crowned with the impotence of death ! — 
Your pupil is, you see, an apt proficient, (ironically.) 
Start not ! — Here is another face hard by ; 
Come, let us take a peep at both together, 
And, with a voice at which the dead will quake, 
Eesound the praise of your moral ity^ — 
Of this too much. 

[Drawing Oswald towards the Cottage — stops short at the door. 
Men are there, millions, Oswald, 
"Who with bare hands would have plucked out thy heart 
And flung it to the dogs : but I am raised 
Above, or sunk below, all further sense 
Of provocation. Leave me, with the weight 
Of that old Man's forgiveness on thy heart, 
Pressing as heavily as it doth on mine. 
Coward I have been ; know, there lies not now 
Within the compass of a mortal thought, 
A deed that I would shrink from ; — but to endure, 
That is my destiny. May it be thine : 
Thy office, thy ambition, be henceforth 

M 2 



164 POEMS WKITTEN IN YOUTH. 

To feed remorse, to welcome every sting 

Of penitential anguish, yea with tears. 

When seas and continents shall lie between us — 

The wider space the better — we may find 

In such a course fit links of sympathy, 

An incommunicable rivalship 

Maintained, for peaceful ends beyond our view. 

\_Confused voices — several of the hand enter — rush upon 
Oswald, and seize him. 

One of them. I would have dogged him to the jaws 

of hell— 
Osw, Ha ! is it so ! — That vagrant Hag ! — this 
comes 
Of having left a thing like her alive ! [Aside. 

Several voices. Despatch him ! 
Osw. If I pass beneath a rock 

And shout, and, with the echo of my voice. 
Bring down a heap of rubbish, and it crush me, 
I die without dishonour. Eamished, starved, 
A Fool and Coward blended to my wish ! 

[Smiles scornfully and exultingly at Marmaduke. 
Wal. 'Tisdone! {stahs Mm.) 
Another of the land. The ruthless Traitor ! 
Mar. A rash deed ! — 

With that reproof I do resign a station 
Of which I have been proud. 

Wil. (approaching Maemaduke). my poor 

Master ! 
Mar. Discerning Monitor, my faithful "Wilfred, 
Why art thou here ? [Turning to Wallace. 

Wallace, upon these Borders, 
Many there be whose eyes will not want cause 
To weep that I am gone. Brothers in arms ! 



THE BORDERERS. 165 

Eaise on that dreary "Waste a monument 

That may record my story : nor let words — 

Pew must they be, and delicate in their touch 

As light itself — be there withheld from Her 

"Who, through most wicked arts, was made an orphan 

Ey One who would have died a thousand times, 

To shield her from a moment's harm. To you, 

Wallace and Wilfred, I commend the Lady, 

By lowly nature reared, as if to make her 

In all things worthier of that noble birth, 

Whose long-suspended rights are now on the eve 

Of restoration : with your tenderest care 

Watch over her, I pray — sustain her 

Several of the hand {eagerly) . Captain ! 

Mar. No more of that ; in silence hear my doom : 
A hermitage has furnished fit relief 
To some offenders ; other penitents. 
Less patient in their wretchedness, have fallen. 
Like the old Eoman, on their own sword's point. 
They had their choice : a wanderer must I go, 
The Spectre of that innocent Man, my guide, 
No human ear shall ever hear me speak ; 
No human dwelling ever give me food, 
Or sleep, or rest : but, over waste and wild. 
In search of nothing, that this earth can give. 
But expiation, will I wander on — ■ 
A Man by pain and thought compelled to live, 
Yet loathing life — till anger is appeased 

In Heaven, and Mercy gives me leave to die. 

1795-6. 



POEMS REFEERING TO THE PERIOD OP 
CHILDHOOD. 



[Written at Town-end, Grasmere.] 

My heart leaps up when I behold 

A rainbow in the sky : 
So was it when my life began ; 
So is it now I am a man ; 
So be it when I shall grow old, 

Or let me die ! 
The Child is father of the Man ; 
And I could wish my days to be 
Bound each to each by natural piety. 

1804. 



II. 
TO A BUTTEEFLY. 



[Wkitten in the Orchard, Town end, Grasmere. My sister and I 
were parted immediately after the death of our mother, who 
died in 1778, both being very young.] 

Stat near me — do not take thy flight ! 
A little longer stay in sight ! 
Much converse do I find in thee, 
Historian of my infancy ! 



THE SPARROW'S NEST. 167 

Float near me ; do not yet depart ! 

Dead times revive in tHee : 

Thou bring' st, gay creature as thou art! . 

A solemn image to my heart, 

My father's family ! 

Oh ! pleasant, pleasant were the days. 
The time, when, in our childish plays. 
My sister Emmeline and I 
Together chased the butterfly ! 
A very hunter did I rush 
Upon the prey : — with leaps and springs 
I followed on from brake to bush ; 
But she, God love her, feared to brush 
The dust from off its wings. 

1801. 



III. 

THE SPAEEOW'S NEST. 

[Written in the Orchard, Town-end, Grasmere. At the end of the 
garden of my father's house at Cockermouth was a high terrace 
that commanded a fine view of the river Derwent and Cocker- 
mouth Castle. This was our favourite play-ground. The 
terrace-wall, a low one, was covered with closely-clipt privet 
and roses, which gave an almost impervious shelter to birds 
that built their nests there. The latter of these stanzas alludes 
to one of those nests.] 

Behold, within the leafy shade. 
Those bright blue eggs together laid ! 
On me the chance- discovered sight 
Gleamed like a vision of delight. 



168 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

I started — seeming to espy 
The home and sheltered bed, 
. The Sparrow's dwelling, which, hard by 
My Eather's house, in wet or dry 
My sister Emmeline and I 
Together visited. 

She looked at it and seemed to fear it ; 
Dreading, tho' wishing, to be near it : 
Such heart was in her, being then 
A little Prattler among men. 
The Blessing of my later years 
Was with me when a boy : 
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears ; 
And humble cares, and delicate fears ; 
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears ; 
And love, and thought, and joy. 

1801. 



FOEESIGHT. 

[Also composed in the Orchard, Town-end, Grasmere.] 

That is work of waste and ruin — 
Do as Charles and I are doing ! 
Strawberry-blossoms, one and all, 
We must spare them — here are many : 
Look at it — the flower is small, 
Small and low, though fair as any : 
Do not touch it ! summers two 
1 am older, Anne, than you. 



FORESIGHT. 169 

Pull the primrose, sister Anne 1 

Pull as many as you can. 

— Here are daisies, take your fill ; 

Pansies, and the cuckoo-flower : 

Of the lofty daffodil 

Make your bed, or make your bower ; 

Pill your lap, and fill your bosom ; 

Only spare the strawberry-blossom ! , 

Primroses, the Spring may love them — 
Summer knows but little of them : 
Violets, a barren kind, 
Withered on the ground must lie ; 
Daisies leave no fruit behind 
When the pretty flowerets die ; 
PluQk them, and another year 
As many will be blowing here. 

Grod has given a kindlier power 
To the favoured strawberry-flower. 
Hither soon as spring is fled 
You and Charles and I will walk ; 
Lurking berries, ripe and red, 
Then will hang on every stalk. 
Each within its leafy bower ; 
And for that promise spare the flower ! 

1802. 



170 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 



Y. 

CHAEACTERISTICS OF A CHILD THREE 
YEAES OLD. 

[Written at AUanbank, Grrasmere. Picture of my Daughter, 
Catharine, who died the year after.] 

LoYiNG she is, and tractable, though wild ; 

And Innocence hath priYilege in her 

To dignify arch looks and laughing eyes ; 

And feats of cunning ; and the pretty round 

Of trespasses, affected to pro Yoke 

Mock-chastisement and partnership in play. 

And, as a faggot sparkles on the hearth, 

Not less if unattended and alone 

Than when both young and old sit gathered round 

And take delight in its actiYity ; 

Even so this happy Creature of herself 

Is all-sufficient ; solitude to her 

Is blithe society, who fills the air 

With gladness and iuYoluntary songs. 

Light are her sallies as the tripping fawn's 

Forth-startled from the fern where she lay couched ; 

Unthought-of, unexpected, as the stir 

Of the soft breeze ruffling the meadow-flowers. 

Or from before it chasing wantonly 

The many-coloured images imprest 

Upon the bosom of a placid lake. 

1811. 



171 



YT. 

ADDEESS TO A CHILD. 

DURING A BOISTEROUS WINTER EVENING. 
BY MY SISTER. 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere.] 

"What way does tlie wind come ? What way does he go ? 
He rides over the water, and over the snow, 
Through wood, and through vale; and, o'er rocky height 
Which the goat cannot climb, takes his sounding flight ; 
He tosses about in every bare tree, 
As, if you look up, you plainly may see ; 
But how he will come, and whither he goes, 
There's never a scholar in England knows. 

He will suddenly stop in a cunning nook. 

And ring a sharp 'larum ; — but, if you should look, 

There's nothing to see but a cushion of snow 

E/Ound as a pillow, and whiter than milk, 

And softer than if it were covered with silk. 

Sometimes he'll hide in the cave of a rock. 

Then whistle as shrill as the buzzard cock ; 

—Yet seek him, — and what shall you find in the place ? 

Nothing but silence and empty space ; 

Save, in a corner, a heap of dry leaves, 

That he's left, for a bed, to beggars or thieves ! 



172 POExMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

As soon as 'tis daylight to-morrow, with me 
You shall go to the orchard, and then you will see 
That he has been there, and made a great rout, 
And cracked the branches, and strewn them about ; 
Heaven grant that he spare but that one upright twig 
That looked up at the sky so proud and big 
All last summer, as well you know, 
Studded with apples, a beautiful show ! 

Hark ! over the roof he makes a pause, 

And growls as if he would fix his claws 

Eight in the slates, and with a huge rattle 

Drive them down, like men in a battle : 

— But let him range round ; he does us no harm. 

We build up the fire, we're snug and warm ; 

Untouched by his breath see the candle shines bright, 

And burns with a clear and steady light ; 

Books have we to read, — but that half-stifled knell, 

Alas ! 'tis the sound of the eight o'clock bell. 

— Come now we'll to bed ! and when we are there 

He may work his own will, and what shall we care ? 

He may knock at the door, — we'll not let him in ; 

May drive at the windows, — we'll laugh at his din ; 

Let him seek his own home wherever it be ; 

Here's a cozie warm house for Edward and me. 

1806. 



173 



YII. 

THE MOTHER'S EETURIT. 

Br THE SAME. 

[Written at Town-end, Gfrasmere.] 

A mo:n'th, sweet Little-ones, is past 
Since your dear Mother went away, — 
And she to-morrow will return ; 
To-morrow is the happy day. 

blessed tidings ! thought of joy ! 
The eldest heard with steady glee ; 
Silent he stood ; then laughed amain, — 
And shouted, "Mother, come to me!" 

Louder and louder did he shout. 
With witless hope to bring her near ; 
" IN'ay, patience ! patience, little boy ! 
Your tender mother cannot hear." 

1 told of hills, and far-off towns. 

And long, long vales to travel through ;- 
He listens, puzzled, sore-perplexed, 
But he submits ; what can he do ? 

No strife disturbs his sister's breast ; 
She wars not with the mystery 
Of time and distance, night and day ; 
The bonds of our humanity. 



174 POEMS KEFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Her joy is like an instinct, joy 
Of kitten, bird, or summer fly ; 
She dances, runs without an aim. 
She chatters in her ecstasy. 

Her brother now takes up the note, 
And echoes back his sister's glee : 
They hug the infant in my arms. 
As if to force his sympathy. 

Then, settling into fond discourse. 
We rested in the garden bower ; 
While sweetly shone the evening sun 
In his departing hour. 

We told o'er all that we had done, — 
Our rambles by the swift brook's side 
Par as the willow-skirted pool. 
Where two fair swans together glide. 

We talked of change, of winter gone. 
Of green leaves on the hawthorn spray, 
Of birds that build their nests and sing 
And all " since Mother went away !" 

To her these tales they will repeat, 
To her our new-born tribes will show. 
The goslings green, the ass's colt, 
The lambs that in the meadow go. 

— But, see, the evening star comes forth ! 
To bed the children must depart ; 
A moment's heaviness they feel, 
A sadness at the heart : 



ALICE FELL. 175 

'Tis gone — and in a merry fit 

They run up stairs in gamesome race ; 

I, too, infected by their mood, 

I could have joined the wanton chase. 

Eive minutes past — and, tlie change ! 
Asleep upon their beds they lie ; 
Their busy limbs in perfect rest, 
And closed the sparkling eye. 

1807. 



Yin. 
ALICE FELL; 

OR, POVERTY. 



[Written to gratify Mr. Gfraham of Gflasgow, brother of the Author 
of "The Sabbath." He was a zealous coadjutor of Mr. 
Clarkson, and a man of ardent humanity. The incident had 
happened to himself, and he urged me to put it into verse, for 
humanity's sake. The humbleness, meanness if you like, of 
the subject, together with the homely mode of treating it, 
brought upon me a world of ridicule by the small critics, so 
that in policy I excluded it from many editions of my Poems, 
till it was restored at the request of some of my friends, in 
particular my son-in-law, Edward Quillinan.] 

The post-boy drove with fierce career, 

Eor threatening clouds the moon had drowned ; 

When, as we hurried on, my ear 

"Was smitten with a startling sound. 

As if the wind blew many ways, 
I heard the sound, — and more and more ; 
It seemed to follow with the chaise. 
And still I heard it as before. 



176 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD 

At length I to tlie boy called out ; 
He stopped Hs horses at the word, 
But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout, 
Nor aught else like it, could be heard. 

The boy then smacked his whip, and fast 
The horses scampered through the rain ; 
But, hearing soon upon the blast 
The cry, I bade him halt again. 

Forthwith alighting on the ground, 

** Whence comes," said I, " this piteous moan ? " 

And there a little Girl I found, 

Sitting behind the chaise, alone. 

"My cloak !" no other word she spake, 
But loud and bitterly she wept, 
As if her innocent heart would break ; 
And down from off her seat she leapt. 

" What ails you, child ?" — she sobbed " Look here !" 

I saw it in the wheel entangled, 

A weather-beaten rag as e'er 

From any garden scare-crow dangled. 

There, twisted between nave and spoke. 
It hung, nor could at once be freed ; 
But our joint pains unloosed the cloak, 
A miserable rag indeed ! 

" And whither are you going, child. 
To night along these lonesome ways ? " 
"To Durham," answered she, half wild — 
" Then come with me into the chaise." 



ALICE FELL. 177 

Insensible to all relief 
Sat the poor girl, and forth did send 
Sob after sob, as if her grief 
Could never, never have an end. 

" My child, in Durham do you dwell ? " 
She checked herself in her distress, 
And said, " My name is Alice Fell ; 
I'm fatherless and motherless. 

" And I to Durham, Sir, belong." 
Again, as if the thought would choke 
Her very heart, her grief grew strong ; 
And all was for her tattered cloak ! 

The chaise drove on; our journey's end 
Was nigh ; and, sitting by my side. 
As if she had lost her only friend 
She wept, nor would be pacified. 

Up to the tavern-door we post ; 
Of Alice and her grief I told ; 
And I gave money to the host, 
To buy a new cloak for the old. 

" And let it be of duffil grey, 
As warm a cloak as man can sell ! " 
Proud creature was she the next day, 
The little orphan, Alice Tell ! 

1801. 



VOL. I. 



178 POEMS KEFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 



IX. 

LUCY GHAY; 

OR, SOLITUDE. 

[Written at Groslar in Germany. It was founded on a circum- 
stance told me by my Sister, of a little girl who, not far from 
Halifax in Yorkshire, was bewildered in a snow-storm. Her 
footsteps were traced by her parents to the middle of the lock 
of a canal, and no other vestige of her, backward or forward, 
could be traced. The body however was found in the canal. 
The way in which the incident was treated and the spiritual- 
ising of the character might furnish hints for contrasting the 
imaginative influences which I have endeavoured to throw over 
common life with Crabbe's matter of fact style of treating 
subjects of the same kind. This is not spoken to his 
disparagement, far from it, but to direct the attention of 
thoughtful readers, into whose hands these notes may fall, to 
a comparison that may both enlarge the circle of their 
sensibilities, and tend to produce in them a catholic judgment.] 

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray : 
And, when I crossed the wild, 
I chanced to see at break of day 
The solitary child. 

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ; 
She dwelt on a wide moor, 
— The sweetest thing that ever grew 
Beside a human door ! 

You yet may spy the fawn at play. 
The hare upon the green ; 
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray 
1 Will never more be seen. 



LUCY GRAY. 179 

" To-night will be a stormy night — 
You to the town must go ; 
And take a lantern, Child, to light 
Your mother through the snow." 

" That, Father ! will I gladly do : 
'Tis scarcely afternoon — 
The minster-clock has just struck two. 
And yonder is the moon 1 '* 

At this the Father raised his hook. 
And snapped a faggot-band ; 
He plied his work ; — and Lucy took 
The lantern in her hand. 

Not blither is the mountain roe : 
With many a wanton stroke 
Her feet disperse the powdery snow, 
That rises up like smoke. 

The storm came on before its time : 
She wandered up and down ; 
And many a hill did Lucy climb : 
But never reached the town. 

The wretched parents all that night 
Went shouting far and wide ; 
But there was neither sound nor sight 
To serve them for a guide. 

At day-break on a hill they stood 
That overlooked the moor ; 
And thence they saw the bridge of wood, 
A furlong from their door. 

N 2 



180 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

They wept — and, turning homeward, cried, 
" In heaven we all'shall meet ; " 
— When in the snow the mother spied 
The print of Lucy's feet. 

Then downwards from the steep hill's edge 
They tracked the footmarks small ; 
And through the broken hawthorn hedge, 
And by the long stone- wall ; 

And then an open field they crossed : 
The marks were still the same ; 
They tracked them on, nor ever lost ; 
And to the bridge they came. 

They followed from the snowy bank 
Those footmarks, one by one, 
Into the middle of the plank ; 
And further there w^ere none ! 

— Yet some maintain that to this day 
She is a living child ; 
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray 
Upon the lonesome wild. 

O'er rough and smooth she trips along, 
And never looks behind ; 
And sings a solitary song 
That whistles in the wind. 



181 



WE ARE SEVEN. 

[Written at Alfoxden in the spring of 1798, under circumstances 
somewhat remarkable. The little girl who is the heroine I 
met within the area of Goodrich Castle in the year 1793. 
Having left the Isle of Wight and crossed Salisbury plain, as 
mentioned in the preface to "Guilt and Sorrow," I proceeded 
by Bristol up the Wye, and so on to North Wales, to the vale 
of Clwydd, where I spent my summer under the roof of the 
father of my friend, Eobert Jones. In reference to this Poem 
I will here mention one of the most remarkable facts in my 
own poetic history and that of Mr. Coleridge. In the spring 
of the year 1798, he, my Sister, and myself, started from 
Alfoxden, pretty late in the afternoon, with a view to visit 
Lenton and the valley of Stones near it ; and as our united 
funds were very small, w^e agreed to defray the expense of the 
tour by writing a poem, to be sent to the New Monthly 
Magazine set up by Phillips the bookseller and edited by 
Dr. Aikin. Accordingly we set off and proceeded along the 
Quantock Hills towards Watchet, and in the course of this 
walk was planned the poem of the *' Ancient Mariner," 
founded on a dream, as Mr. Coleridge said, of his friend, 
Mr. Cruikshank. Much the greatest part of the story was 
Mr. Coleridge's invention ; but certain parts I myself sug- 
gested : — for example, some crime was to be committed which 
should bring upon the old Navigator, as Coleridge afterwards 
delighted to call him, the spectral persecution, as a consequence 
of that crime, and his own wanderings. I had been reading 
in Shelvock's Voyages a day or two before that while doubling 
Cape Horn they frequently saw Albatrosses in that latitude, 
the largest sort of seafowl, some extending their wings twelve 
or fifteen feet. "Suppose," said I, "you represent him as 
having killed one of these birds on entering the South Sea, 
and that the tutelary Spirits of those regions take upon them 
to avenge the crime." The incident was thought fit for the 
purpose and adopted accordingly. I also suggested the 
navigation of the ship by the dead men, but do not recollect 
that I had anything more to do with the scheme of the poem. 
The Gloss with which it was subsequently accompanied was 
not thought of by either of us at the time ; at least not a hint 



182 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

of it was given to me, and I have no doubt it was a gratuitous 
after-thought. We began the composition together on that, to 
me, memorable evening. I furnished two or three lines at the 
beginning of the poem, in particular : — 

*'And listened like a three years' child; 
The Mariner had his will." 

These trifling contributions all but one (which Mr. C. has with 
unnecessary scrupulosity recorded) slipt out of his mind as 
they well might. As we endeavoured to proceed conjointly (I 
speak of the same evening) our respective manners proved so 
widely different that it would have been quite presumptuous 
in me to do anything but separate from an undertaking upon 
which I could only have been a clog. We returned after a few 
days from a delightful tour, of which I have many pleasant and 
some of them droll-enough recollections. We returned by 
Dulverton to Alfoxden. The *' Ancient Mariner" grew and 
grew till it became too important for our first object, which 
was limited to our expectation of five pounds, and we began to 
talk of a Volume which was to consist, as Mr. Coleridge has 
told the world, of poems chiefly on supernatural subjects taken 
from common life, but looked at, as much as might be, through 
an imaginative medium. Accordingly I wrote ' ' The Idiot Boy, " 
*'Her eyes are wild," &c., "We are seven," "The Thorn," 
and some others. To return to "We are seven," the piece 
that called forth this note, I composed it while walking in the 
grove at Alfoxden. My friends will not deem it too trifling to 
relate that while walking to and fro I composed the last 
stanza first, having begun with the last line. When it was 
all but finished, I came in and recited it to Mr. Coleridge and 
my Sister, and said, ' ' A prefatory stanza must be added, and 
I should sit down to our little tea-meal -v\dth greater pleasure 
if my task were finished." I mentioned in substance what I 
wished to be expressed, and Coleridge immediately threw off 
the stanza thus : — 

" A little child, dear brother Jem," — 

I objected to the rhyme, " dear brother Jem," as being 
ludicrous, but we all enjoyed the joke of hitching-in our 

friend, James T 's name, who was familiarly called Jem. 

He was the brother of the dramatist, and this reminds me of 
an anecdote which it may be worth while here to notice. The 
said Jem got a sight of the "Lyrical Ballads" as it was going 
through the press at Bristol, during which time I was residing 
in that city. One evening he came to me with a grave face, 
and said, ' ' Wordsworth, I have seen the volume that Coleridge 



WE ARE SEVEN. 183 

and you are about to publish. There is one poem in it 
which I earnestly entreat you will cancel, for, if published, it 
will make you everlastingly ridiculous." I answered that I 
felt much obliged by the interest he took in my good name as 
a writer, and begged to know what was the unfortunate piece 
he alluded to. He said **It is called 'We are seven.' " Nay ! 
said I, that shall take its chance however, and he left me in 
despair. I have only to add that in the spring of 1841 I 
revisited Goodrich Castle, not having seen that part of the 
Wye since I met the little Girl there in 1793. It would have 
given me greater pleasure to have found in the neighbouring 
hamlet traces of one who had interested me so much ; but 
that was impossible, as unfortunately I did not even know her 
name. The ruin, from its position and features is a most_ 
impressive object. I could not but deeply regret that its 
solemnity was impaired by a fantastic new Castle set up on a 
projection of the same ridge, as if to show how far modern art 
can go in surpassing all that could be done by antiquity and 
nature with their united graces, remembrances, and associations.] 

-A simple Child, 



That lightly draws its breath, 
And feels its life in every limb, 
"What should it know of death ? 

I met a little cottage Girl : 
She was eight years old, she said ; 
Her hair was thick with many a curl 
That clustered round her head. 

She had a rustic, woodland air. 
And she was wildly clad : 
Her eyes were fair, and very fair ; 
— Her beauty made me glad. 

" Sisters and brothers, little Maid, 
How many may you be ?" 
" How many ? Seven in all," she said, 
And wondering looked at me. 



184 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

" And where are tliej ? I praj you tell." 
She answered, " Seven are we ; 
And two of us at Conway dwell, 
And two are gone to sea. 

Two of us in the church-yard lie, 
My sister and my brother ; 
And, in the church-yard cottage, I 
Dwell near them with my mother." 

" You say that two at Conway dwell, 
And two are gone to sea, 
Yet ye are seven! — I pray you tell, 
Sweet Maid, how this may be." 

Then did the little Maid reply, 
" Seven boys and girls are we ; 
Two of us in the church-yard lie, 
Beneath the church-yard tree." 

"You run about, my little Maid, 
Your limbs they are alive ; 
If two are in the church-yard laid, 
Then ye are only five." 

" Their graves are green, they may be seen," 
The little Maid replied, 

" Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, 
And they are side by side. 

My stockings there I often knit. 
My kerchief there I hem ; 
And there upon the ground I sit, 
And sing a song to them. 



WE ARE SEVEN. 185 

And often after sun-set, Sir, 
When it is light and fair, 
I take my little porringer. 
And eat my supper there. 

The first that died was sister Jane ; 
In bed she moaning lay, 
Till God released her of her pain ; 
And then she went away. 

So in the church-yard she was laid ; 
And, when the grass was dry. 
Together round her grave we played, 
My brother John and I. 

And when the ground was white with snow, 

And I could run and slide. 

My brother John was forced to go. 

And he lies by her side." 

" How many are you, then," said T, 
" If they two are in heaven ?" 
Quick was the little Maid's reply, 
" Master! we are seven." 

" But they are dead ; those two are dead ! 
Their spirits are in heaven !" 
'Twas throwing words away; for still 
The little Maid would have her will. 
And said, "Nay, we are seven!" 

1798. 



186 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 
XI. 

THE IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS; 

OR, DUNGEON-GHYLL FORCE^^ 
A PASTORAL. 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. I will only add a little 
monitory anecdote concerning this subject. When Coleridge 
and Southey were walking together upon the Fells, Southey 
observed that, if I wished to be considered a faithful painter 
of rural manners, I ought not to have said that my Shepherd- 
boys trimmed their rustic hats as described in the poem. Just 
as the words had passed his lips two boys appeared with the 
very plant entwined round their hats. I have often wondered 
that Southey, who rambled so much about the mountains, 
should have fallen into this mistake, and I record it as a 
warning for others who, with far less opportunity than my 
dear friend had of knowing what things are, and far less 
sagacity, give way to presumptuous criticism, from which he 
was free, though in this matter mistaken. In describing a 
tarn under Helvellyn, I say — 

•* There sometimes doth a leaping fish 
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer." 

This was branded by a critic of these days, in a review ascribed 
to Mrs. Barbauld, as unnatural and absurd. I admire the 
genius of Mrs. Barbauld, and am certain that, had her educa- 
tion been favourable to imaginative influences, no female of 
her day would have been more likely to sympathise with that 
image, and to acknowledge the truth of the sentiment.] 

The valley rings with mirth and joy ; 

Among the hills the echoes play 

A never never ending song, 

To welcome in the May. 

The magpie chatters with delight ; 

* Ghyll^ in the dialect of Cumberland and Westmoreland, is a short and, 
for the most part, a steep narrow valley, with a stream running through 
it. Force is the word universally employed in these dialects for waterfall. 



THE IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS. 187 

The mountain raven's youngling brood 
Have left the mother and the nest ; 
And they go rambling east and west 
In search of their own food ; 
Or through the glittering vapours dart 
In very wantonness of heart. 

Beneath a rock, upon the grass, 
Two boys are sitting in the sun ; 
Their work, if any work they have, 
Is out of mind — or done. 
On pipes of sycamore they play 
The fragments of a Christmas hymn ; 
Or with that plant which in our dale 
We call stag-horn, or fox's tail, 
Their rusty hats they trim : 
And thus, as happy as the day, 
Those Shepherds wear the time away. 

Along the river's stony marge 

The sand-lark chants a joyous song ; 

The thrush is busy in the wood, 

And carols loud and strong. 

A thousand lambs are on the rocks, 

All newly born ! both earth and sky 

Keep jubilee, and more than all, 

Those boys with their green coronal ; 

They never hear the cry. 

That plaintive cry ! which up the hill 

Comes from the depth of Dungeon-Grhyll. 

Said "Walter, leaping from the ground, 
'' Down to the stump of yon old yew 



188 POEMS EEFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

"We'll for our whistles run a race." 

^Awaj the shepherds flew ; 

They leapt — thej ran — and when they came 

Kght opposite to Dungeon- Grhyll, 

Seeing that he should lose the prize, 

" Stop ! " to his comrade "Walter cries — 

James stopped with no good will : 

Said Walter then, exulting ; " Here 

You'll find a task for half a year. 

Cross, if you dare, where I shall cross — 

Come on, and tread where I shall tread." 

The other took him at his word, 

And followed as he led. 

It was a spot which you may see 

If ever you to Laugdale go ; 

Into a chasm a mighty block 

Hath fallen, and made a bridge of rock : 

The gulf is deep below ; 

And, in a basin black and small, 

Eeceives a lofty waterfall. 

With staff in hand across the cleft 

The challenger pursued his march ; 

And now, all eyes and feet, hath gained 

The middle of the arch. 

When list ! he hears a piteous moan — 

Again ! — his heart within him dies — 

His pulse is stopped, his breath is lost, 

He totters, pallid as a ghost, 

And, looking down, espies 

A lamb, that in the pool is pent 

Within that black and frightful rent. 



THE IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS. 189 

The lamb had slipped into the stream, 

And safe without a bruise or wound 

The cataract had borne him down 

Into the gulf profound. 

His dam had seen him when he fell, 

She saw him down the torrent borne ; 

And, while with all a mother's love 

She from the loftj rocks above 

Sent forth a cry forlorn, 

The lamb, still swimming round and round, 

Made answer to that plaintive sound. 

"When he had learnt what thing it was, 
That sent this rueful cry ; I ween 
The Boy recovered heart, and told 
The sight which he had seen. 
Eoth gladly now deferred their fcask ; 
^Nor was there wanting other aid — 
A Poet, one who loves the brooks 
Par better than the sages' books. 
By chance had thither strayed ; 
And there the helpless lamb he found 
By those huge rocks encompassed round. 

He drew it from the troubled pool. 
And brought it forth into the light : 
The Shepherds met him with his charge. 
An unexpected sight ! 
Into their arms the lamb they took. 
Whose life and limbs the flood had spared ; 
Then up the steep ascent they hied. 
And placed him at his mother's side ; 
And gently did the Bard 



190 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Those idle Sheplierd-boys upbraid, 
And bade them better mind their trade. 

1800. 



XII. 

ANECDOTE FOE FATHERS, 

' Retine vim istam, falsa enim dicam, si coges.' — Eusebius. 

[This was suggested in front of Alfoxden. The Boy was a son of 
my friend, Basil Montagu, who had been two or three years 
under our care. The name of Kilve is from a village on the 
Bristol Channel, about a mile from Alfoxden ; and the name 
of Liswyn Farm was taken from a beautiful spot on the Wye. 
When Mr. Coleridge, my Sister, and I, had been visiting the 
famous John Thelwall, who had taken refuge from politics, 
after a trial for high treason, with a view to bring up his 
family by the profits of agriculture, which proved as unfor- 
tunate a speculation as that he had fled from, Coleridge and 
he had both been public lecturers ; Coleridge mingling, with 
his politics, Theology, from which the other elocutionist ab- 
stained, unless it were for the sake of a sneer. This quondam 
community of public employment induced Thelwall to visit 
Coleridge at Nether Stowey, where he fell in my way. He 
really was a man of extraordinary talent, an affectionate 
husband, and a good father. Though brought up in the City, 
he was truly sensible of the beauty of natural objects. I 
remember once, when Coleridge, he, and I were seated to- 
gether upon the turf on the brink of a stream in the most 
beautiful part of the most beautiful glen of Alfoxden, Cole- 
ridge exclaimed, ' ' This is a place to reconcile one to all the 
jarrings and conflicts of the wide world." " Nay," said 
Thelwall, "to make one forget them altogether." The visit of 
this man to Coleridge was, as I believe Coleridge has related, 
the occasion of a spy being sent ^y Grovernment to watch our 
proceedings, which were, I can say with truth, such as the 
world at large would have thought ludicrously harmless.] 

I HAYE a boy of five years old ; 
His face is fair and fresh to see ; 
His limbs are cast in beauty's mould, 
And dearly he loves me. 



ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS. 191 

One morn we strolled on our dry walk. 
Our quiet home all full in view, 
And held such intermitted talk 
As we are wont to do. 

Mj thoughts on former pleasures ran ; 
I thought of Kilve's delightful shore, 
Our pleasant home when spring began, 
A long, long year before. 

A day it was when I could bear 
Some fond regrets to entertain ; 
With so much happiness to spare, 
I could not feel a pain. 

The green earth echoed to the feet 
Of lambs that bounded through the glade, 
Prom shade to sunshine, and as fleet 
Erom sunshine back to shade. 

Birds warbled round me — and each trace 
Of inward sadness had its charm ; 
Kilve, thought I, was a favoured place. 
And so is Liswyn farm. 

My boy beside me tripped, so slim 
And graceful in his rustic dress ! 
And, as we talked, I questioned him, 
In very idleness. 

" Now tell me, had you rather be," 

I said, and took him by the arm, 

" On Kilve's smooth shore, by the green sea, 

Or here at Liswyn farm ?" 



192 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

In careless mood he looked at me, 
"While still I held him by the arm, 
And said, " At Kilve I'd rather be 
Than here at Liswyn farm." 

" 'Now, little Edward, say why so : 
My little Edward, tell me why."— 
" I cannot tell, I do not know." — 
" Why, this is strange," said I ; 

" Eor, here are woods, hills smooth and warm : 
There surely must some reason be 
Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm 
Eor Kilve by the green sea." 

At this, my boy hung down his head. 
He blushed with shame, nor made reply ; 
And three times to the child I said, 
" Why, Edward, tell me why ?" 

His head he raised — there was in sight. 
It caught his eye, he saw it plain — 
Upon the house-top, glittering bright, 
A broad and gilded vane. 

Then did the boy his tongue unlock, 
And eased his mind w^ith this reply : 
" At Kilve there was no weather-cock ; 
And that's the reason why." 

dearest, dearest boy ! my heart 
Eor better lore would seldom yearn. 
Could I but teach the hundredth part 
Of what from thee I learn. 

1798. 



193 

XIII. 

EUEAL ARCHITECTURE. 

[Written at Town-end, Grrasmere. These structures, as every 
one knows, are common amongst our Mils, being built by 
sbepberds, as conspicuous marks, and occasionally by boys in 
sport.] 

Theee's G-eorge Pisher, Charles Fleming, and Regi- 
nald Shore, 
Three rosy-cheeked school-boys, the highest not more 
Than the height of a counsellor's bag ; 
To the top of GrBEAT How* did it please them to climb : 
And there they built up, without mortar or lime, 
A Man on the peak of the crag. 

They built him of stones gathered up as they lay : 
They built him and christened him all in one day. 
An urchin both vigorous and hale ; 
And so without scruple they called him Ealph Jones. 
]N''ow Ealph is renowned for the length of his bones ; 
The Magog of Legberthwaite dale. 

Just half a week after, the wind sallied forth, 
And, in anger or merriment, out of the north, 
Coming on with a terrible pother, 
From the peak of the crag blew the giant away. 
And what did these school-boys ? — The very next day 
They went and they built up another. 

* Great How is a single and conspicuous hill, which rises towards the 
foot of Thirlmere, on the western side of the beautiful dale of Legber. 
thwaite, along the high road between Keswick and Ambleside. 

VOL. I. 



194 POEMS REFEREING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

— Some little I've seen of blind boisterous works 
By Christian disturbers more savage than Turks, 
Spirits busy to do and undo : 

At remembrance v^hereof my blood sometimes will flag ; 
Then, light-hearted Boys, to the top of the crag ! 
And I'll build up a giant with you. 

1801. 



XIV. 

THE PET-LAMB. 

A PASTORAL. 



[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. Barbara Lewthwaite, now- 
living at Ambleside (1843), thongli mucb changed as to 
beauty, was one of two most lovely sisters. Almost the first 
words my poor brother John said, when he visited us for the 
first time at Grasmere, were, ' ' Were those two Angels that I 
have just seen V and from his description I have no doubt 
they were those two sisters. The mother died in childbed ; 
and one of our neighbours at Grasmere told me that the 
loveliest sight she had ever seen was that mother as she lay in 
her coffin with her babe in her arm. I mention this to notice 
what I cannot but think a salutary custom once universal in 
these vales. Every attendant on a funeral made it a duty to 
look at the corpse in the coffin before the lid was closed, which 
was never done (nor I believe is now) till a minute or two 
before the corpse was removed. Barbara Lewthwaite was not 
in fact the child whom I had seen and overheard as described in 
the poem. I chose the name for reasons implied in the above ; 
and will here add a caution against the use of names of living 
persons. Within a few months after the publication of this 
poem, I was much surprised, and more hurt, to find it in a 
child's school-book which, having been compiled by Lindley 
Murray, had come into use at Grasmere School where Barbara 
was a pupil ; and, alas ! I had the mortification of hearing 
that she was very vain of being thus distinguished ; and, in 



THE PET-LAMB. ' 195 

after-life, she used to say that she remembered the incident 
and what I said to her upon the occasion.] 

The dew was falling fast, tlie stars began to blink ; 
I heard a voice; it said, "Drink, pretty creature, drink ! " 
And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied 
A snow-white mountain-lamb with a Maiden at its side. 

ISTor sheep nor kine were near ; the lamb was all alone, 
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone ; 
With one knee on the grass did the little Maiden kneel, 
While to that mountain-lamb she gave its evening meal. 

The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took. 
Seemed to feast with head and ears ; and his tail with 

pleasure shook. 
"Drink, pretty creature, drink," she said in such 

a tone 
That I almost received her heart into my own. 

'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty 

rare! 
I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair. 
Now with her empty can the Maiden turned away : 
But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she 

stay. 

B;ight towards the lamb she looked ; and from a 

shady place 
I unobserved could see the workings of her face : 
If ]N'ature to her tongue could measured numbers 

bring. 
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little Maid might sing : 



196 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

"What ails thee, young One? what? Why pull 

SO at thy cord ? 
Is it not well with thee ? well both for bed and board ? 
Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; 
Kest, little young One, rest ; what is't that aileth 

thee ? 

What is it thou wouldst seek ? What is wanting 

to thy heart ? 
Thy limbs are they not strong? And beautiful 

thou art : 
This grass is tender grass ; these flowers they have 

no peers ; 
And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears ! 

If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen 

chain, 
This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain ; 
Eor rain and mountain-storms ! the like thou 

need'st not fear. 
The rain and storm are things that scarcely can 

come here. 

Eest, little young One, rest ; thou hast forgot the day 
When my father found thee first in places far away ; 
Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned 

by none, 
And thy mother from thy side for evermore was gone. 

He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee 

home: 
A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou 

roam ? 



THE PET-LAMB. 197 

A faithful nurse thou hast ; the dam that did thee yeau 
Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been. 

Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in 

this can 
Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran ; 
And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with 

dew, 
I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new. 

Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are 

now, 
Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the 

plough ; 
My playmate thou shalt be ; and when the wind is cold 
Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy 

fold. 

It will not, will not rest ! — Poor creature, can it be 
That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in 

thee ? 
Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear. 
And dreams of things which thou canst neither see 

nor hear. 

Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair ! 
I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come 

there ; 
The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play, 
When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey. 

Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky ; 
Night and day thou art safe, — our cottage is hard by. 



198 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Why bleat so after me ? Why pull so at thy chain ? 
Sleep — and at break of day I will come to thee 
again ! " 

— As homeward through the lane I went with lazy 

feet, 
This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat ; 
And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line. 
That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was 

mine. 

Again, and once again, did I repeat the song ; 
"Nay," said I, "more than half to the damsel must 

belong, 
For she looked with such a look and she spake with 

such a tone. 
That I almost received her heart into my own." 

1800. 



XV. 

TO H. C. 

SIX YEARS OLD. 



O THOU ! whose fancies from afar are brought ; 

Who of thy words dost make a mock apparel, 

And fittest to unutterable thought 

The breeze-like motion and the self-born carol ; 

Thou faery voyager ! that dost float 

In such clear water, that thy boat 

May rather seem 

To brood on air than on an earthly stream ; 



TO H. C. 199 

Suspended in a stream as clear as sky, 

"Where earth and heaven do make one imagery ; 

blessed vision ! happy child ! 
Thou art so exquisitely wild, 

1 think of thee with many fears 

Tor what may be thy lot in future years. 

I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest, 
Lord of thy house and hospitality ; 
And Grrief, uneasy lover ! never rest 
But when she sate within the touch of thee. 
O too industrious folly ! 
O vain and causeless melancholy ! 
N"ature will either end thee quite ; 
Or, lengthening out thy season of delight, 
Preserve for thee, by individual right, 
A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks. 
What hast thou to do with sorrow, 
Or the injuries of to-morrow ? 
Thou art a dew-drop, which the morn brings forth, 
111 fitted to sustain unkindly shocks, 
Or to be trailed along the soiling earth ; 
A gem that glitters while it lives. 
And no forewarning gives ; 
But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife 
Slips in a moment out of life. 

1802. 



200 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 



XYI. 



mFLUENCE OF NATURAL OBJECTS 

IN CALLING FORTH AND STRENGTHENING THE IMAGINATION IN 
BOYHOOD AND EARLY YOUTH. 

FROM AN UNPUBLISHED POEM. WRITTEN IN GERMANY. 

[This extract is reprinted from ''The Friend."] 

Wisdom and Spirit of the universe ! 

Thou Soul, that art the Eternity of thought ! 

And giv'st to forms and images a breath 

And everlasting motion ! not in vain, 

By day or star-light, thus from my first dawn 

Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me 

The passions that build up our human soul ; 

jN"ot with the mean and vulgar works of Man ; 

But with high objects, with enduring things, 

With life and nature ; purifying thus 

The elements of feeling and of thought, 

And sanctifying by such discipline 

Both pain and fear, — until we recognise 

A grandeur in the beatings of the heart. 

Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to me 
With stinted kindness. In November days. 
When vapours rolling down the valleys made 
A lonely scene more lonesome ; among woods 
At noon ; and mid the calm of summer nights, 
When, by the margin of the trembling lake, 
Beneath the gloomy hills, homeward I went 



INFLUENCE OF NATURAL OBJECTS. 201 

In solitude, such intercourse was mine : 

Mine was it in the fields both day and night, 

And by the waters, all the summer long. 

And in the frosty season, when the sun 

Was set, and, visible for many a mile, 

The cottage- windows through the twilight blazed, 

I heeded not the summons : happy time 

It was indeed for all of us ; for me 

It was a time of rapture ! Clear and loud 

The village-clock tolled six — I wheeled about, 

Proud and exulting like an untired horse 

That cares not for his home. — All shod with steel 

We hissed along the polished ice, in games 

Confederate, imitative of the chase 

And woodland pleasures, — the resounding horn. 

The pack loud-chiming, and the hunted hare. 

So through the darkness and the cold we flew, 

And not a voice was idle : with the din 

Smitten, the precipices rang aloud ; 

The leafless trees and every icy crag 

Tinkled like iron ; while far- distant hills 

Into the tumult sent an alien sound 

Of melancholy, not unnoticed while the stars. 

Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west 

The orange sky of evening died away. 

Not seldom from the uproar I retired 
Into a silent bay, or sportively 
Grlanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng, 
To cut across the reflex of a star ; 
Image, that, flying still before me, gleamed 
Upon the glassy plain : and oftentimes. 
When we had given our bodies to the wind. 
And all the shadowy banks on either side 



202 POEMS EEFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still 
The rapid line of motion, then at once 
Have I, reclining back upon my heels, 
Stopped short ; yet still the solitary cliffs 
"Wheeled by me — even as if the earth had rolled 
"With visible motion her diurnal round ! 
Behind me did they stretch in solemn train, 
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched 
Till all was tranquil as a summer sea. 

1799. 



XVII. 

THE LOI^GEST DAY. 

ADDRESSED TO MY DAUGHTER. 



[Suggested by the sight of my daughter (Dora) playing in front of 
Rydal Mount ; and composed in a great measure the same 
afternoon. I have often wished to pair this poem upon the 
longest, with one upon the shortest, day, and regret even now 
that it has not been done.] 

Let us quit the leafy arbour, 
And the torrent murmuring by ; 
For the sun is in his harbour. 
Weary of the open sky. 

Evening now unbinds the fetters 
Fashioned by the glowing light ; 
All that breathe are thankful debtors 
To the harbinger of night. 



THE LONGEST DAY. 203 

Yet by some grave thouglits attended 
Eve renews her calm career ; 
For the day that now is ended, 
Is the longest of the year. 

Dora ! sport, as now thou sportest. 
On this platform, light and free ; 
Take thy bliss, while longest, shortest. 
Are indifferent to thee ! 

"Who would check the happy feeling 
That inspires the linnet's song ? 
Who would stop the swallow, wheeling 
On her pinions swift and strong ? 

Yet at this impressive season. 
Words which tenderness can speak 
From the truths of homely reason. 
Might exalt the loveliest cheek ; # 

And, while shades to shades succeeding 
Steal the landscape from the sight, 
I would urge this moral pleading. 
Last forerunner of " Good night !" 

Summer ebbs ; — each day that follows 
Is a reflux from on high. 
Tending to the darksome hollows 
Where the frosts of winter lie. 

He who governs the creation. 
In his providence, assigned 
Such a gradual declination 
To the life of human kind. 



204 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Yet we mark it not ; — fruits redden, 
Tresli flowers blow, as flowers have blown, 
And the heart is loth to deaden 
Hopes that she so long hath known. 

Be thou wiser, youthful Maiden ! 
And when thj decline shall come. 
Let not flowers, or boughs fruit-laden. 
Hide the knowledge of thy doom. 

Now, even now, ere wrapped in slumber, 
Fix thine eyes upon the sea 
That absorbs time, space, and number ; 
Look thou to Eternity ! 

Follow thou the flowing river 
On whose breast are thither borne 
All deceived, and each deceiver, 
Through* the gates of night and morn ; 

Through the year's successive portals ; 
Through the bounds which many a star 
Marks, not mindless of frail mortals. 
When his light returns from far. 

Thus when thou with Time hast travelled 
Toward the mighty gulf of things. 
And the mazy stream unravelled 
With thy best imaginings ; 

Think, if thou on beauty leanest, 
Think how pitiful that stay, 
Did not virtue give the meanest 
Charms superior to decay. 



THE NORMAN BOY. 205 

Duty, like a strict preceptor, 
Sometimes frowns, or seems to frown ; 
Choose her thistle for thy sceptre, 
"While youth's roses are thy crown. 

Grasp it, — if thou shrink and tremble, 
Fairest damsel of the green. 
Thou wilt lack the only symbol 
That proclaims a genuine queen ; 

And ensures those palms of honour 
Which selected spirits wear, 
Bending low before the Donor, 
Lord of heaven's unchanging year ! 

1817. 



XYIII. 

THE NOHMAN BOY. 



[The subject of this poem was sent me by Mrs. Ogle, to whom I 
was personally unknown, with a hope on her part that I might 
be induced to relate the incident in verse ; and I do not regret 
that I took the trouble, for not improbably the fact is illus- 
trative of the boy's early piety, and may concur with my other 
little pieces on children to produce profitable reflection among 
my youthful readers. This is said however with an absolute 
conviction that children will derive most benefit from books 
which are not unworthy the perusal of persons of any age. I 
protest with my whole heart against those productions, so 
abundant in the present day, in which the doings of children 
are dwelt upon as if they were incapable of being interested in 
anything else. On this subject I have dwelt at length in the 
poem on the growth of my own mind.] 

HiaH on a broad unfertile tract of forest-skirted Down, 
Nor kept by Nature for herself, nor made by man 
his own, 



206 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

From home and company remote and every playful joy, 
Served, tending a few sheep and goats, a ragged 
Norman Boy. 

Him never saw I, nor the spot ; but from an English 
Dame, 

Stranger to me and yet my friend, a simple notice came, 

With suit that I would speak in verse of that seques- 
tered child 

Whom, one bleak winter's day, she met upon the 
dreary Wild. 

His flock, along the woodland's edge with relics 

sprinkled o'er 
Of last night's snow, beneath a sky threatening the 

fall of more. 
Where tufts of herbage tempted each, were busy at 

their feed. 
And the poor Boy was busier still, with work of 

anxious heed. 

There was he, where of branches rent and withered 

and decayed, 
For covert from the keen north wind, his hands a hut 

had made. . 
A tiny tenement, forsooth, and frail, as needs must be 
A thing of such materials framed, by a builder such 

as he. 

The hut stood finished by his pains, nor seemingly 

lacked aught 
That skill or means of his could add, but the architect 

had wrought 



THE NORMAN BOY. 207 

Some limber twigs into a Cross, well-shaped with 

fingers nice, 
To be engrafted on the top of his small edifice. 

That Cross he now was fastening there, as the surest 

power and best 
Tor supplying all deficiencies, all wants of the rude 

nest 
In which, from burning heat, or tempest driving far 

and wide. 
The innocent Boj, else shelterless, his lonely head 

must hide. 

That Cross belike he also raised as a standard for 

the true - 
And faithful service of his heart in the worst that 

might ensue 
Of hardship and distressful fear, amid the houseless 

waste 
Where he, in his poor self so weak, by Providence 

was placed. 

Here, Lady ! might I cease ; but nay, let us 

before we part 

With this dear holy shepherd-boy breathe a prayer 
of earnest heart, 

That unto him, where'er shall lie his life's appointed 
way. 

The Cross, fixed in his soul, may prove an all- 
sufficing stay. 



208 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 



XIX. 

THE POET'S DEEAM, 

SEQUEL TO THE NORMAN BOY. 

Just as those final words were penned, tlie sun 

broke out in power, 
And gladdened all things ; but, as chanced, within 

that very hour, 
Air blackened, thunder growled, fire flashed from 

clouds that hid the sky. 
And, for the Subject of my Verse, I heaved a 

pensive sigh. 

Nor could my heart by second thoughts from heavi- 
ness be cleared, 

For bodied forth before my eyes the cross-crowned 
hut appeared ; 

And, while around it storm as fierce seemed trou- 
bling earth and air, 

I saw, within, the Norman Boy kneeling alone in 
prayer. 

The Child, as if the thunder's voice spake with 

articulate call, 
Eowed meekly in submissive fear, before the Lord 

of All; 
His lips were moving; and his eyes, upraised to 

sue for grace, 
AVith soft illumination cheered the dimness of that 

place. 



THE POET'S DKEAM. 209 

How beautiful is holiness ! — what wonder if the sight, 
Almost as vivid as a dream, produced a dream at night ? 
It came with sleep and showed the Boy, no cherub, 

not transformed, 
But the poor ragged Thing whose ways my human 

heart had warmed. 

Me had the dream equipped with wings, so I took 

him in my arms, 
And lifted from the grassy floor, stilling ^his faint 

alarms. 
And bore him high through yielding air my debt 

of love to pay. 
By giving him, for both our sakes, an hour of 

holiday. 

I whispered, "Yet a little while, dear Child! thou 

art my own, 
To show thee some delightful thing, in country or 

in town. 
What shall it be ? a mirthful throng ? or that holy 

place and calm 
St. Denis, filled with royal tombs, or the Church of 

Notre Dame ? 

" St. Ouen's golden Shrine ? Or choose what else 

would please thee most 
Of any wonder Normandy, or all proud Prance, 

can boast!" 
"My Mother," said the Boy, "was born near to a 

blessed Tree, 
The Chapel Oak of AUonville; good Angel, show 

it me!" 



210 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

On wings, from broad and stedfast poise let loose 

by this reply, 
For Allonville, o'er down and dale, away then did 

we fly; 
O'er town and tower we flew, and fields in May's 

fresh verdure drest ; 
The wings they did not flag; the Child, though 

grave, was not deprest. 



But who shall show, to waking sense, the gleam of 

light that broke 
Forth from his eyes, when first the Boy looked down 

on that huge oak, 
For length of days so much revered, so famous 

where it stands 
For twofold hallowing — Nature's care, and work of 

human hands ? 



Strong as an Eagle with my charge I glided round 

and round 
The wide-spread boughs, for view of door, window, 

and stair that wound 
GrracefuUy up the gnarled trunk; nor left we 

unsurveyed 
The pointed steeple peering forth from the centre 

of the shade. 



I lighted — opened with soft touch the chapel's iron 

door. 
Past softly, leading in the Boy; and, while from 

roof to floor 



THE POET'S DREAM. 211 

From floor to roof all round his eyes the Child 

with wonder east, 
Pleasure on pleasure crowded in, each livelier than 

the last. 



Por, deftly framed within the trunk, the sanctuary 

showed, 
By light of lamp and precious stones, that glimmered 

here, there glowed, 
Shrine, Altar, Image, Offerings hung in sign of 

gratitude ; 
Sight that inspired accordant thoughts ; and speech 

I thus renewed ; 



"• Hither the Afllicted come, as thou hast heard 

thy Mother say, 
And, kneeling, supplication make to our Lady de 

la Paix ; 
"What mournful sighs have here been heard, and, 

when the voice was stopt 
By sudden pangs ; what bitter tears have on this 

pavement dropt ! 

" Poor Shepherd of the naked Down, a favoured 

lot is thine. 
Par happier lot, dear Boy, than brings full many 

to this shrine ; 
Prom body pains and pains of soul thou needest no 

release, 
Thy hours as they flow on are spent, if not in joy, 

in peace. 

p2 



212 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

"Then oiFer up thy heart to Grod in thankfulness 

and praise, 
Give to Him prayers, and many thoughts, in thy 

most busy days ; 
And in His sight the fragile Cross, on thy small 

hut, will be 
Holy as that which long hath crowned the Chapel 

of this Tree ; 

" Holy as that far seen which crowns the sumptuous 

Church in Eome 
Where thousands meet to worship God under a 

mighty Dome ; 
He sees the bending multitude, he hears the choral rites, 
Yet not the less, in children's hymns and lonely 

prayer, delights. 

" God for his service needeth not proud work of 

human skill ; 
They please him best who labour most to do in 

peace his will : 
So let us strive to live, and to our Spirits will be given 
Such wings as, when our Saviour calls, shall bear 

us up to heaven." 

The Boy no answer made by words, but, so earnest 

was his look. 
Sleep fled, and with it fled the dream — recorded in 

this book, 
Lest all that passed should melt away in silence 

from my mind. 
As visions still more bright have done, and left no 

trace behind. 



THE WESTMORELAND GIRL. 213 

Eut oh ! that Country-man of thine, whose eye, 

loved Child, can see 
A pledge of endless bliss in acts of early piety. 
In verse, which to thy ear might come, would treat 

this simple theme, 
Nor leave untold our happy flight in that adventurous 

dream. 

Alas the dream, to thee, poor Boy ! to thee from 

whom it flowed, 
"Was nothing, scarcely can be aught, yet 'twas 

bounteously bestowed. 
If I may dare to cherish hope that gentle eyes will 

read 
]N"ot loth, and listening Little-ones, heart-touched, 

their fancies feed."^ 



|. XX. 

THE WESTMORELAND GIRL. 

TO MY GRANDCHILDREN. 

PART I. 

Seek who will delight in fable 
I shall tell you truth. A Lamb 
Leapt from this steep bank to follow 
'Cross the brook its thoughtless dam. 

* See note. 



2U POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Far and wide on hill and valley 
Bain had fallen, unceasing rain, 
And the bleating mother's Toung-one 
Struggled with the flood in vain : 

But, as chanced, a Cottage-maiden 
(Ten years scarcely had she told) 
Seeing, plunged into the torrent, 
Clasped the Lamb and kept her hold. 

"Whirled adown the rocky channel, 
Sinking, rising, on they go. 
Peace and rest, as seems, before them 
Only in the lake below. 

Oh ! it was a frightful current 
"Whose fierce wrath the Grirl had braved ; 
Clap your hands with joy my Hearers, 
Shout in triumph, both are saved ; 

Saved by courage that with danger 
Grrew, by strength the gift of love, 
And belike a guardian angel 
Came with succour from above. 



PART II. 



]N'ow, to a maturer Audience, 
Let me speak of this brave Child 
Left among her native mountains 
AVith wild JSTature to run wild. 



THE WESTMORELAND GIRL. 215 

So, unwatclied by love maternal, 
Mother's care no more her guide, 
Tared this little bright-eyed Orphan 
Even while at her father's side. 

Spare your blame, — remembrance makes him 
Loth to rule by strict command ; 
Still upon his cheek are living 
Touches of her infant hand. 

Dear caresses given in pity, 
Sympathy that soothed his grief, 
As the dying mother witnessed 
To her thankful mind's relief. 

Time passed on ; the Child was happy, 
Like a Spirit of air she moved. 
Wayward, yet by all who knew her 
For her tender heart beloved. 

Scarcely less than sacred passions. 
Bred in house, in grove, and field, 
Link her with the inferior creatures. 
Urge her powers their rights to shield. 

Anglers, beet on reckless pastime, 
Learn how she can feel alike 
Both for tiny harmless minnow 
And the fierce and sharp-toothed pike. 

Merciful protectress, kindling 
Into anger or disdain ; 
Many a captive hath she rescued. 
Others saved from lingering pain. 



216 POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD. 

Listen yet awhile ; — with patience 
Hear the homely truths I tell, 
She in Grrasmere's old church -steeple 
Tolled this day the passing-bell. 

Yes, the wild Girl of the mountains 
To their echoes gave the sound, 
Notice punctual as the minute, 
Warning solemn and profound. 

She, fulfilling her sire's office, 
Eang alone the far-heard knell, 
Tribute, by her hand, in sorrow, 
Paid to One who loved her well. 

When his spirit was departed 
On that service she went forth ; 
Nor will fail the like to render 
"When his corse is laid in earth. 

What then wants the Child to temper, 
In her breast, unruly fire, 
To control the froward impulse 
And restrain the vague desire ? 

Easily a pious training 

And a stedfast outward power 

Would supplant the weeds and cherish, 

In their stead, each opening flower. 

Thus the fearless Lamb-deliv'rer, 
Woman-grown, meek-hearted, sage, 
May become a blest example 
Eor her sex, of every age. 



THE WESTMORELAND GIRL 217 

"Watchful as a wheeling eagle. 
Constant as a soaring lark, 
Should the country need a heroine. 
She might prove our Maid of Arc. 

Leave that thought ; and here be uttered 
Prayer that Grrace divine may raise 
Her humane courageous spirit 
Up to heaven, thro' peaceful ways. 



POEMS POUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

I. 

THE BROTHERS, 

[This poem was composed in a grove at tlie north-eastern end of 
Grasmere lake, which grove was in a great measure destroyed 
by turning the high-road along the side of the water. The 
few trees that are left were spared at my intercession. The 
poem arose out of the fact, mentioned to me at Ennerdale, 
that a shepherd had fallen asleep upon the top of the rock 
called The Pillar, and perished as here described, his staff 
being left midway on the rock.] 

" These Tourists, heaven preserve us ! needs must live 

A profitable life : some glance along, 

Rapid and gay, as if the earth were air, 

And they were butterflies to wheel about 

Long as the summer lasted : some, as wise. 

Perched on the forehead of a jutting crag. 

Pencil in hand and book upon the knee, 

"Will look and scribble, scribble on and look, 

Until a man miglit travel twelve stout miles, 

Or reap an acre of his neighbour's corn. 

But, for that moping Son of Idleness, 

Why can he tarry yonder ? — In our church -yard 

Is neither epitaph nor monument. 

Tombstone nor name — only the turf we tread 



THE BROTHERS. 219 

And a few natural graves." 

To Jane, his wife, 
Thus spake the homely Priest of Ennerdale. 
It was a July evening ; and he sate 
Upon the long stone-seat beneath the eaves 
Of his old cottage, — as it chanced, that day. 
Employed in winter's work. Upon the stone 
His wife sate near him, teasing matted wool. 
While, from the twin cards toothed with glittering wire, 
He fed the spindle of his youngest child. 
Who, in the open air, with due accord 
Of busy hands and back-and-forward steps. 
Her large round wheel was turning. Towards the field 
In which the Parish Chapel stood alone, 
Grirt round with a bare ring of mossy wall. 
While half an hour went by, the Priest had sent 
Many a long look of wonder : and at last, 
Kisen from his seat, beside the snow-white rido:e 
Of carded wool which the old man had piled 
He laid his implements with gentle care, 
Each in the other locked ; and, down the path 
That from his cottage to the church-yard led. 
He took his way, impatient to accost 
The Stranger, whom he saw still lingering there. 
'Twas one well known to him in former days, 
A Shepherd-lad ; who ere his sixteenth year 
Had left that calling, tempted to entrust 
His expectations to the fickle winds 
And perilous waters ; with the mariners 
A fellow-mariner ; — and so had fared 
Through twenty seasons ; but he had been reared 
Among the mountains, and he in his heart 
Was half a shepherd on the stormy seas. 



220 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Oft in the piping shrouds had Leonard heard 

The tones of waterfalls, and inland sounds 

Of caves and trees : — and, when the regular wind 

Between the tropics filled the steady sail, 

And blewwith the same breath through days and weeks, 

Lengthening invisibly its weary line 

Along the cloudless Main, he, in those hours 

Of tiresome indolence, would often hang 

Over the vessel's side, and gaze and gaze ; 

And, while the broad blue wave and sparkling foam 

Plashed round him images and hues that wrought 

In union with the employment of his heart. 

He, thus by feverish passion overcome, 

Even with the organs of his bodily eye. 

Below him, in the bosom of the deep. 

Saw mountains ; saw the forms of sheep that grazed 

On verdant hills — with dwellings among trees, 

And shepherds clad in the same country grey 

Which he himself had worn.* 

And now, at last, 
Prom perils manifold, with some small wealth 
Acquired by traific 'mid the Indian Isles, 
To his paternal home he is returned, 
"With a determined purpose to resume 
The life he had lived there ; both for the sake 
Of many darling pleasures, and the love 
"Which to an only brother he has borne 
In all his hardships, since that happy time 
When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two 
Were brother-shepherds on their native hills. 

* This description of the Calenture is sketched from an imperfect 
recollection of an admirable one in prose, by Mr. Gilbert, author of the 
llurricane. 



THE BROTHERS. 221 

■ — They were the last of all their race : and now, 

When Leonard had approached his home, his heart 

I'ailed in him ; and, not venturing to enquire 

Tidings of one so long and dearly loved. 

He to the solitary church-yard turned ; 

That, as he knew in what particular spot 

His family were laid, he thence might learn 

If still his Brother lived, or to the file 

Another grave was added. — He had found 

Another grave, — near which a full half-hour 

He had remained ; but, as he gazed, there grew 

Such a confusion in his memory. 

That he began to doubt ; and even to hope 

That he had seen this heap of turf before, — 

That it was not another grave ; but one 

He had forgotten. He had lost his path, 

As up the vale, that afternoon, he walked 

Through fields which once had been well known to him: 

And oh what joy this recollection now 

Sent to his heart ! he lifted up his eyes. 

And, looking round, imagined that he saw 

Strange alteration wrought on every side 

Among the woods and fields, and that the rocks. 

And everlasting hills themselves were changed. 

By this the Priest, who down the field had come. 
Unseen by Leonard, at the church-yard gate 
Stopped short, — and thence, at leisure, limb by limb 
Perused him with a gay complacency. 
Ay, thought the Vicar, smiling to himself, 
'Tis one of those who needs must leave the path 
Of the world's business to go wild alone : 
His arms have a perpetual holiday ; 
The happy man will creep about the fields, 



222 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

following his fancies bj the hour, to bring 

Tears down his cheek, or solitary smiles 

Into his face, until the setting sun 

Write fool upon his forehead. — Planted thus 

Beneath a shed that over-arched the gate 

Of this rude church-yard, till the stars appeared 

The good Man might have communed with himself, 

But that the Stranger, who had left the grave, 

Approached ; he recognised the Priest at once, 

And, after greetings interchanged, and given 

By Leonard to the Vicar as to one 

Unknown to him, this dialogue ensued. 

Leonard. You live. Sir, in these dales, a quiet life : 
Your years make up one peaceful family ; 
And who would grieve and fret, if, welcome come 
And welcome gone, they are so like each other. 
They cannot be remembered ? Scarce a funeral 
Comes to this church-yard once in eighteen months ; 
And yet, some changes must take place among you : 
And you, who dwell here, even among these rocks. 
Can trace the finger of mortality. 
And see, that with our threescore years and ten 

We are not all that perish. 1 remember, 

(Por many years ago I passed this road) 

There was a foot-way all along the fields 

By the brook-side — 'tis gone — and that dark cleft ! 

To me it does not seem to wear the face 

Which then it had ! 

Friest. ^^J? Sii'? foi* aught I know. 

That chasm is much the same — 

Leonard. But, surely, yonder — 

I^riest, Ay, there, indeed, your memory is a friend 
That does not play you false. — On that tall pike 



THE BROTHERS. 223 

(It is the loneliest place of all these hills) 

There were two springs which bubbled side loj side, 

As if they had been made that they miglit be 

Companions for each other : the huge crag 

Was rent with lightning — one hath disappeared ; 

The other, left behind, is flowing still. 

For accidents and changes such as these, 

We want not store of them ; — a water-spout 

Will bring down half a mountain ; what a feast 

For folks that wander up and down like you, 

To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliff 

One roaring cataract ! a sharp May-storm 

Will come with loads of January snow, 

And in one night send twenty score of sheep 

To feed the ravens ; or a shepherd dies 

By some untoward death among the rocks : 

The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge ; 

A wood is felled : — and then for our own homes ! 

A child is born or christened, a field ploughed, 

A daughter sent to service, a web spun, 

The old house-clock is decked with a new face ; 

And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates 

To chronicle the time, we all have here 

A pair of diaries, — one serving, Sir, 

Por the whole dale, and one for each fire-side — 

Yours was a stranger's judgment : for historians. 

Commend me to these valleys ! 

Leonard, Tet your Church-yard 

Seems, if such freedom may be used with you. 
To say that you are heedless of the past : 
An orphan could not find his mother's grave : 
Here's neither head nor foot-stone, plate of brass, 
Cross-bones nor skull, — type of our earthly state 



224 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

JN'or emblem of our hopes : the dead man's home 
Is but a fellow to that pasture-field. 

Friest. Why, there, Sir, is a thought that's new to me ! 
The stone-cutters, 'tis true, might beg their bread 
If every English church-yard were like ours ; 
Yet your conclusion wanders from the truth : 
We have no need of names and epitaphs ; 
We talk about the dead by our fire-sides. 
And then, for our immortal part ! we want 
No symbols, Sir, to tell us that plain tale : 
The thought of death sits easy on the man 
Who has been born and dies among the mountains. 

Leonard, Your Dalesmen, then, do in each other's 
thoughts 
Possess a kind of second life : no doubt 
You, Sir, could help me to the history 
Of half these graves ? 

Priest, Tor eight-score winters past. 

With what I've witnessed, and with what I've heard, 
Perhaps I might ; and, on a winter-evening, 
If you were seated at my chimney's nook, 
By turning o'er these hillocks one by one, 
We two could travel. Sir, through a strange round ; 
Yet all in the broad highway of the world. 
Now there's a grave — your foot is half upon it, — 
It looks just like the rest ; and yet that man 
Died broken-hearted. 

Leonard. 'Tis a common case. 

We'll take another : who is he that lies 
Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves ? 
It touches on that piece of native rock 
Left in the church-yard wall. 

Priest. That's Walter Ewbank. 



THE BROTHERS. 225 

He had as wliite a bead and fresh a cheek 

As ever were produced by youth and age 

Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore. 

Through five long generations had the heart 

Of Walter's forefathers overflowed the bounds 

Of their inheritance, that single cottage — 

Tou see it yonder ! and those few green fields. 

They toiled and wrought, and still, from sire to son, 

Each struggled, and each yielded as before 

A little — yet a little, — and old "Walter, 

They left to him the family heart, and land 

With other burthens than the crop it bore. 

Year after year the old man still kept up 

A cheerful mind, — and buffeted with bond, 

Interest, and mortgages ; at last he sank. 

And went into his grave before his time. 

Poor Walter ! whether it was care that spurred him 

Grod only knows, but to the very last 

He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale : 

His pace was never that of an old man : 

I almost see him tripping down the path 

With his two grandsons after him : — but you. 

Unless our Landlord be your host to-night, 

Have far to travel,~and on these rough paths 

Even in the longest day of midsummer — 

Leonard, But those two Orphans ! 

driest. Orphans ! — Such they were — 

Yet not while Walter lived : for, though their parents 
Lay buried side by side as now they lie. 
The old man was a father to the boys. 
Two fathers in one father : and if tears. 
Shed when he talked of them where they were not. 
And hauntings from the infirmity of love, 

VOL. I. Q 



226 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart, 

This old Man, in the day of his old age, 

Was half a mother to them. — If you weep, Sir, 

To hear a stranger talking about strangers, 

Heaven bless you when you are among your kindred ! 

Ay — you may turn that way — it is a grave 

Which will bear looking at. 

Leonard. These boys — I hope 

They loved this good old Man ? — 

JPriest. They did — and truly : 

But that was what we almost overlooked. 
They were such darlings of each other. Yes, 
Though from the cradle they had lived with Walter, 
The only kinsman near them, and though he 
Inclined to both by reason of his age. 
With a more fond, familiar, tenderness ; 
They, notwithstanding, had much love to spare, 
And it all went into each other's hearts. 
Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months. 
Was two years taller : 'twas a joy to see. 
To hear, to meet them! — Erom their house the school 
Is distant three short miles, and in the time 
Of storm and thaw, when every water-course 
And unbridged stream, such as you may have noticed 
Crossing our roads at every hundred steps. 
Was swoln into a noisy rivulet. 
Would Leonard then, when elder boys remained 
At home, go staggering through the slippery fords. 
Bearing his brother on his back. I have seen him, 
On windy days, in one of those stray brooks. 
Ay, more than once I have seen him, mid-leg deep. 
Their two books lying both on a dry stone. 
Upon the hither side : ^and once I said, 



THE BROTHERS. 227 

As I remember, looking round these rocks 
And hills on which we all of us were born, 
That Grod who made the great book of the world 
Would bless such pietj — 

Leonard. It may be then — 

driest, Never did worthier lads break English bread ; 
The very brightest Sunday Autumn saw 
With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts, 
Could never keep those boys away from church, 
Or tempt them to an hour of sabbath breach. 
Leonard and James ! I warrant, every corner 
Among these rocks, and every hollow place 
That venturous foot could reach, to one or both 
Was known as well as to the flowers that grow there. 
Like roe-bucks they went bounding o'er the hills ; 
They played like two young ravens on the crags : 
Then they could write, ay and speak too, as well 
As many of their betters — and for Leonard ! 
The very night before he went away, 
In my own house I put into his hand 
A bible, and I'd wager house and field 
That, if he be alive, he has it yet. 

Leonard. It seems, these Brothers have not lived tobe 
A comfort to each other — 

driest. That they might 

Live to such end is what both old and young 
In this our valley all of us have wished, 
And what, for my part, I have often prayed : 
But Leonard — 

Leonard. Then James still is left among you ! 

driest, 'Tis of the elder brother I am speaking : 
They had an uncle ; — he was at that time 
A thriving man, and trafficked on the seas : 

q2 



228 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

And, but for that same uncle, to this hour 

Leonard had never handled rope or shroud : 

For the hoy loved the life which we lead here ; 

And though of unripe years, a stripling only, 

His soul was knit to this his native soil. 

But, as I said, old Walter was too weak 

To strive with such a torrent ; when he died, 

The estate and house were sold; and all their sheep, 

A pretty flock, and which, for aught I know. 

Had clothed the Ewbanks for a thousand years: — 

Well — all was gone, and they were destitute. 

And Leonard, chiefly for his Brother's sake, 

E-esolved to try his fortune on the seas. 

Twelve years are past since we had tidings from him. 

If there were one among us who had heard 

That Leonard Ewbank was come home again, 

From the Grreat Gravel"^, down by Leeza's banks, 

And down the Enna, far as Egremont, 

The day would be a joyous festival ; 

And those two bells of ours, which there you see — 

Hanging in the open air — but, O good Sir ! 

This is sad talk — they'll never sound for him — • 

Living or dead. — When last we heard of him, 

He was in slavery among the Moors 

Upon the Barbary coast. — 'Twas not a little 

That would bring down his spirit ; and no doubt, 

Before it ended in his death, the Youth 

Was sadly crossed. — Poor Leonard ! when we parted, 

* The Great Gavel, so called, I imagine, from its resemblance to the 
gable end of a house, is one of the highest of the Cumberland mountains. 
It stands at the head of the several vales of Ennerdale, Wastdale, and 
Borrowdale. 

The Leeza is a river which flows into the Lake of Ennerdale : on issuing 
from the Lake, it changes its name, and is called the End, Eyne, or Enna, 
It falls into the sea a little below Egremont. 



THE BROTHERS. 229 

He took me by the hand, and said to me, 
If e'er he should grow rich, he would return, 
To live in peace upon his father's land, 
And lay his bones among us. 

Leonard. If that day 

Should come, 't would needs be a glad day for him ; 
He would himself, no doubt, be happy then 
As any that should meet him — 

Friest. Happy! Sir — 

Leonard. Tou said his kindred all were in their 
graves, 
And that he had one Brother — 

IBriest. That is but 

A fellow-tale of sorrow. From his youth 
James, though not sickly, yet was delicate ; 
And Leonard being always by his side 
Had done so many offices about him, 
That, though he was not of a timid natiire, 
Yet still the spirit of a mountain-boy 
In hirn was somewhat checked ; and, when his Brother 
Was gone to sea, and he was left alone, 
The little colour that he had was soon 
Stolen from his cheek ; he drooped, and pined, and 
pined — 

Leonard. But these are all the graves of full-grown 
men! 

Friest. Ay, Sir, that passed away: we took him to us ; 
He was the child of all the dale — he lived 
Three months with one, and six months with another ; 
And wanted neither food, nor clothes, nor love : 
And many, many happy days were his. 
But, whether blithe or sad, 'tis my belief 
His absent Brother still was at his heart. 



230 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

And, when he dwelt beneath our roof, we found 

(A practice till this time unknown to him) 

That often, rising from his bed at night, 

He in his sleep would walk about, and sleeping 

He sought his brother Leonard. — You are moved ! 

Forgive me. Sir : before I spoke to you, 

I judged you most unkindly. 

Leonard. But this Youth, 

How did he die at last ? 

Friest, One sweet May-morning, 

(It will be twelve years since when Spring returns) 
He had gone forth among the new-dropped lambs, 
"With two or three companions, whom their course 
Of occupation led from height to height 
Under a cloudless sun — till he, at length. 
Through weariness, or, haply, to indulge 
The humour of the moment, lagged behind. 
You see yon precipice ; — it wears the shape 
Of a vast building made of many crags ; 
And in the midst is one particular rock 
That rises like a column from the vale, 
"Whence by our shepherds it is called. The Pillae. 
Upon its aery summit crowned with heath. 
The loiterer, not unnoticed by his comrades. 
Lay stretched at ease ; but, passing by the place 
On their return, they found that he was gone. 
No ill was feared ; till one of them by chance 
Entering, when evening was far spent, the house 
Which at that time was James's home, there learned 
That nobody had seen him all that day : 
The morning came, and still he was unheard of: 
The neighbours were alarmed, and to the brook 
Some hastened ; some ran to the lake : ere noon 



THE BROTHERS. 231 

They found him at the foot of that same rock 

Dead, and with mangled limbs. The third day after 

I buried him, poor Youth, and there he lies ! 

Leonard, And that then is his grave! — Before 
his death 
Tou say that he saw many happy years ? 

Priest. Ay, that he did — 

Leonard, And all went well with him ? — 

Friest. If he had one, the Youth had twenty homes. 

Leonard. And you believe, then, that his mind 
was easy ? — 

Triest. Yes, long before he died, he found that time 
Is a true friend to sorrow ; and unless 
His thoughts were turned on Leonard's luckless 

fortune. 
He talked about him with a cheerful love. 

Leonard. He could not come to an unhallowed end ! 

Priest. Nay, God forbid ! — You recollect I mentioned 
A habit which disquietude and grief 
Had brought upon him ; and we all conjectured 
That, as the day was warm, he had lain down 
On the soft heath, — and, waiting for his comrades, 
He there had fallen asleep ; that in his sleep 
He to the margin of the precipice 
Had walked, and from the summit had fallen headlong : 
And so no doubt he perished. When the Youth 
Fell, in his hand he must have grasped, we think, 
His shepherd's staff; for on that Pillar of rock 
It had been caught mid way ; and there for years 
It hung ; — and mouldered there. 

The Priest here ended — 
The Stranger would have thanked him, but he felt 
A gushing from his heart, that took away 



232 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

The power of speech. Both left the spot in silence ; 
And Leonard, when thej reached the church-yard gate, 
As the Priest lifted up the latch, turned round, — 
And, looking at the grave, he said, " My Brother !" 
The Vicar did not hear the words : and now, 
He pointed towards his dwelling-place, entreating 
That Leonard would partake his homely fare : 
The other thanked him with an earnest voice ; 
But added, that, the evening being calm, 
He would pursue his journey. So they parted. 
It was not long ere Leonard reached a grove 
That overhung the road : he there stopped short, 
And, sitting down beneath the trees, reviewed 
All that the Priest had said : his early years 
"Were with him : — his long absence, cherished hopes. 
And thoughts which had been his an hour before. 
All pressed on him with such a weight, that now. 
This vale, where he had been so happy, seemed 
A place in which he could not bear to live : 
So he relinquished all his purposes. 
He travelled back to Egremont : and thence. 
That night, he wrote a letter to the Priest, 
Eeminding him of what had passed between them ; 
And adding, with a hope to be forgiven. 
That it was from the weakness of his heart 
He had not dared to tell him who he was. 
This done, he went on shipboard, and is now 
A Seaman, a grey-headed Mariner. 

1800. 



233 



II. 
ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

(see the CHKONICLE op GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH AND MILTOn'S 
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.) 

[This was written at Eydal Mount, as a token of affectionate 
respect for the memory of Milton. *'I have determined," 
says he, in his preface to his History of England, * ' to bestow 
the telling over even of these reputed tales, be it for nothing 
else but in favor of our English Poets and Rhetoricians, who 
by their wit will know how to use them judiciously.'"] 

"Wheee be the temples which, in Britain's Isle, 
For his paternal Gods, the Trojan raised ? 
Gone like a morning dream, or like a pile 
Of clouds that in cerulean ether blazed ! 
Ere Julius landed on her white-clifFed shore. 

They sank, delivered o'er 
To fatal dissolution ; and, I ween, 
No vestige then was left that such had ever been. 

Nathless, a British record (long concealed 
In old Armorica, whose secret springs 
No Gothic conqueror ever drank) revealed 
The marvellous current of forgotten things ; 
How Brutus came, by oracles impelled. 

And Albion's giants quelled, 
A brood whom no civility could melt, 
' "Who never tasted grace, and goodness ne'er had felt.' 



234 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS, 

Ey brave Corineus aided, lie subdued, 
And rooted out the intolerable kind ; 
And this too-long-polluted land imbued 
With goodly arts and usages refined ; 
"Whence golden harvests, cities, warlike towers, 

And pleasure's sumptuous bowers ; 
Whence all the fixed delights of house and home, 
Friendships that will not break, and love that cannot 

roam. 

0, happy Britain ! region all too fair 
For self-delighting fancy to endure 
That silence only should inhabit there. 
Wild beasts, or uncouth savages impure ! 
But, intermingled with the generous seed, 

Grrew many a poisonous weed ; 
Thus fares it still with all that takes its birth 
From human care, or grows upon the breast of earth. 

Hence, and how soon ! that war of vengeance waged 
By Guendolen against her faithless lord ; 
Till she, in jealous fury unassuaged 
Had slain his paramour with ruthless sword : 
Then, into Severn hideously defiled. 
She flung her blameless child, 
Sabrina, — vowing that the stream should bear 
That name through every age, her hatred to declare. 

So speaks the Chronicle, and tells of Lear 

By his ungrateful daughters turned adrift. 

Ye lightnings, hear his voice ! — they cannot hear, 

Nor can the winds restore his simple gift. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 235 

But One there is, a Child of nature meek, 

Who comes her Sire to seek ; 
And he, recovering sense, upon her breast 
Leans smilingly, and sinks into a perfect rest. 

There too we read of Spenser's fairy themes, 
And those that Milton loved in youthful years ; 
The sage enchanter Merlin's subtle schemes ; 
The feats of Arthur and his knightly peers ; 
Of Arthur, — who, to upper light restored, 

With that terrific sword 
Which yet he brandishes for future war. 
Shall lift his country's fame above the polar star ! 



What wonder, then, if in such ample field 
Of old tradition, one particular flower 
Doth seemingly in vain its fragrance yield, 
And bloom unnoticed even to this late hour ? 
Now, gentle Muses, your assistance grant, 

While I this flower transplant 
Into a garden stored with Poesy ; 
Where flowers and herbs unite, and haply some weeds 

be. 
That, wanting not wild grace, are from all mischief 

free ! 

A Kiisra more worthy of respect and love 
Than wise Grorbonian ruled not in his day ; 
And grateful Britain prospered far above 
All neighbouring countries through his righteous 
sway ; 



236 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

He poured rewards and honours on tlie good ; 

The oppressor he withstood ; 
And while he served the Grods with reverence due 
Fields smiled, and temples rose, and towns and cities 

grew. 

He died, whom Artegal succeeds — his son ; 

But how unworthy of that sire was he ! 

A hopeful reign, auspiciously begun, 

"Was darkened soon by foul iniquity. 

From crime to crime he mounted, till at length 

The nobles leagued their strength 
"With a vexed people, and the tyrant chased ; 
And, on the vacant throne, his worthier Brother placed. 

From realm to realm the humbled Exile went. 
Suppliant for aid his kingdom to regain ; 
In many a court, and many a warrior's tent, 
He urged his persevering suit in vain. 
Him, in whose wretched heart ambition failed, 

Dire poverty assailed ; 
And, tired with slights his pride no more could brook, 
He towards his native country cast a longing look. 

Fair blew the wished-for wind — the voyage sped ; 

He landed ; and, by many dangers scared, 

' Poorly provided, poorly followed,' 

To Calaterium's forest he repaired. 

How changed from him who, born to highest place, 

Had swayed the royal mace, 
Flattered and feared, despised yet deified. 
In Troynovant, his seat by silver Thames's side! 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 237 

Prom that wild region where the crownless King 
Lay in concealment with his scanty train, 
Supporting life by water from the spring, 
And such chance food as outlaws can obtain. 
Unto the few whom he esteems his friends 

A messenger he sends ; 
And from their secret loyalty requires 
Shelter and daily bread, — the sum of his desires. 

While he the issue waits, at early morn 
"Wandering by stealth abroad, he chanced to hear 
A startling outcry made by hound and horn, 
From which the tusky wild boar flies in fear ; 
And, scouring toward him o'er the grassy plain, 

Behold the hunter train ! 
He bids his little company advance 
With seeming unconcern and steady countenance. 

The royal Elidure, who leads the chase, 
Hath checked his foaming courser : — can it be ! 
Methinks that I should recognise that face. 
Though much disguised by long adversity ! 
He gazed rejoicing, and again he gazed, 

Confounded and amazed — 
" It is the king, my brother !" and, by sound 
Of his own voice confirmed, he leaps upon the ground. 

Long, strict, and tender was the embrace he gave. 
Feebly returned by daunted Artegal ; 
Whose natural affection doubts enslave, 
And apprehensions dark and criminal. 



238 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Loth to restrain the moving interview, 
The attendant lords withdrew ; 
And, while they stood upon the plain apart, 
Thus Elidure, by words, relieved his struggling heart. 

" By heavenly Powers conducted, we have met ; 
— Brother ! to my knowledge lost so long, 
But neither lost to love, nor to regret, 
JN'or to my wishes lost ; — forgive the wrong, 
(Such it may seem) if I thy crown have borne, 

Thy royal mantle worn : 
I was their natural guardian ; and 'tis just 
That now I should restore what hath been held in 

trust." 

A while the astonished Artegal stood mute. 
Then thus exclaimed : " To me, of titles shorn, 
And stripped of power ! me, feeble, destitute, 
To me a kingdom ! spare the bitter scorn : 
If justice ruled the breast of foreign kings, 

Then, on the wide-spread wings 
Of war, had I returned to claim my right ; 
This will I here avow, not dreading thy despite." 

" I do not blame thee," Elidure replied ; 
" But, if my looks did with my words agree, 
I should at once be trusted, not defied. 
And thou from all disquietude be free. 
May the unsullied Groddess of the chase. 

Who to this blessed place 
At this blest moment led me, if I speak 
With insincere intent, on me her vengeance wreak 1 



^ ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 239 

Were this same spear, which, in my hand I grasp, 
The British sceptre, here would I to thee 
The symbol yield ; and would undo this clasp. 
If it confined the robe of sovereignty. 
Odious to me the pomp of regal court. 

And joyless sylvan sport. 
While thou art roving, wretched and forlorn. 
Thy couch the dewy earth, thy roof the forest thorn ! " 

Then Artegal thus spake : " I only sought, 
Within this realm a place of safe retreat ; 
Beware of rousing an ambitious thought ; 
Beware of kindling hopes, for me unmeet ! 
Thou art reputed wise, but in my mind 

Art pitiably blind : 
EuU soon this generous purpose thou may'st rue. 
When that which has been done no wishes can undo. 

Who, when a croAvn is fixed upon his head. 
Would balance claim with claim, and right with right ? 
But thou — I know not how inspired, how led — 
Wouldst change the course of things in all men's sight ! 
And this for one who cannot imitate 

Thy virtue, who may hate : 
For, if, by such strange sacrifice restored. 
He reign, thou still must be his king, and sovereign 

lord; 

Lifted in magnanimity above 
Aught that my feeble nature could perform. 
Or even conceive ; surpassing me in love 
Tar as in power the eagle doth the worm : 



240 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

I, Brother ! only should be king in name, 

And govern to my shame ; 
A shadow in a hated land, while all 
Of glad or willing service to thy share would fall." 

" Believe it not," said Elidiire ; '' respect 
Awaits on virtuous life, and ever most 
Attends on goodness with dominion decked. 
Which stands the universal empire's boast ; 
This can thy own experience testify : 

JS'or shall thy foes deny 
That, in the gracious opening of thy reign, 
Our father's spirit seemed in thee to breathe again. 

And what if o'er that bright unbosoming 
Clouds of disgrace and envious fortune past ! 
Have we not seen the glories of the spring 
By veil of noontide darkness overcast ? 
The frith that glittered like a warrior's shield. 

The sky, the gay green field. 
Are vanished ; gladness ceases in the groves. 
And trepidation strikes the blackened mountain-coves. 

But is that gloom dissolved ? how passing clear 
Seems the wide world, far brighter than before ! 
Even so thy latent worth will re-appear, 
Grladdening the people's heart from shore to shore ; 
Eor youthful faults ripe virtues shall atone ; 

Ee-seated on thy throne. 
Proof shalt thou furnish that misfortune, pain, 
And sorrow, have confirmed thy native right to reign. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 241 

But, not to overlook what thou may'st know, 
Thy enemies are neither weak nor few ; 
And circumspect must be our course, and slow, 
Or from my purpose ruin may ensue. 
Dismiss thy followers ; — let them calmly wait 

Such change in thy estate 
As I already have in thought devised ; 
And which, with caution due, may soon be realised." 

The Story tells what courses were pursued, 
Until king Elidure, with full consent 
Of all his peers, before the multitude, 
Eose, — and, to consummate this just intent, 
Did place upon his brother's head the crown, 

Eelinquished by his own ; 
Then to his people cried, " Eeceive your lord, 
Gorbonian's first-born son, your rightful king re- 
stored!" 

The people answered with a loud acclaim : 
Tet more ; — heart-smitten by the heroic deed. 
The reinstated Artegal became 
Earth's noblest penitent ; from bondage freed 
Of vice — thenceforth unable to subvert 

Or shake his high desert. 
Long did he reign ; and, when he died, the tear 
Of universal grief bedewed his honoured bier. 

Thus was a Brother by a Brother saved ; 
"With whom a crown (temptation that hath set 
Discord in hearts of men till they have braved 
Their nearest kin with deadly purpose met) 



242 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

' Grainst duty weighed, and faithful love, did seem 

A thing of no esteem ; 
And, from this triumph of affection pure. 
He bore the lasting name of " pious Elidure." 

1815. 



iir. 
TO A BUTTEEFLY. 

[Written in the Orchard, Town-end, Grrasmere.] 

I' YE watched you now a full half-hour. 
Self-poised upon that yellow flower ; 
And, little Butterfly ! indeed 
I know not if you sleep or feed. 
How motionless ! — not frozen seas 
More motionless ! and then 
What joy awaits you, when the breeze 
Hath found you out among the trees, 
And calls you forth again ! 

This plot of orchard-ground is ours ; 

My trees they are, my Sister's flowers ; 

Here rest your wings when they are weary ; 

Here lodge as in a sanctuary ! 

Come often to us, fear no wrong ; 

Sit near us on the bough ! 

"We'll talk of sunshine and of song. 

And summer days, when we were young ; 

Sweet childish days, that were as long 

As twenty days are now. 



1801. 



243 

IV. 

A FAEEWELL. 

[Composed just before my sister and I went to fetch Mrs. Words- 
worth from Grallow-hill, near Scarborough.] 

Eaeewell, thou little 'Nook of mountain-grouiid, 

Thou rocky corner in the lowest stair 

Of that magnificent temple which doth bound 

One side of our whole vale with grandeur rare ; 

Sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair, 

The loveliest spot that man hath ever found, 

Parewell ! — we leave thee to Heaven's peaceful care, 

Thee, and the Cottage which thou dost surround. 

Our boat is safely anchored by the shore. 
And there will safely ride when we are gone ; 
The flowering shrubs that deck our humble door 
"Will prosper, though untended and alone : 
Fields, goods, and far-off chattels we have none : 
These narrow bounds contain our private store 
Of things earth makes, and sun doth shine upon ; 
Here are they in our sight — we have no more. 

Sunshine and shower be with you, bud and bell I 
Eor two months now in vain we shall be sought ; 
"We leave you here in solitude to dwell 
With these our latest gifts of tender thought ; 
Thou, like the morning, in thy saffron coat, 
Eright gowan, and marsh -marigold, farewell! 
Whom from the borders of the Lake we brought. 
And placed together near our rocky Well. 

r2 



244 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

We go for One to whom ye will be dear ; 
And she will prize this Bower, this Indian shed, 
Our own contrivance. Building without peer! 
— A gentle Maid, whose heart is lowly bred. 
Whose pleasures are in wild fields gathered, 
With joyousness, and with a thoughtful cheer. 
Will come to you ; to you herself will wed ; 
And love the blessed life that w^e lead here. 

Dear Spot ! which we have watched with tender heed. 
Bringing thee chosen plants and blossoms blown 
Among the distant mountains, flower and weed, 
Which thou hast taken to thee as thy own. 
Making all kindness registered and known ; 
Thou for our sakes, though Nature's child indeed, 
Pair in thyself and beautiful alone. 
Hast taken gifts which thou dost little need. 

And O most constant, yet most fickle Place, 
That hast thy wayward moods, as thou dost show 
To them who look not daily on thy face ; 
Who, being loved, in love no bounds dost know. 
And say'st, when we forsake thee, " Let them go ! " 
Thou easy -hearted Thing, with thy wild race 
Of weeds and flowers, till we return be slow, 
And travel with the year at a soft pace. 

Help us to tell Her tales of years gone by, 

And this sweet spring, the best beloved and best ; 

Joy will be flown in its mortality ; 

Something must stay to tell us of the rest. 

Here, thronged with primroses, the steep rock's breast 



STANZAS. 245 

Grlittered at evening like a starry sky ; 
And in this bush our sparrow built her nest, 
Of which I sang one song that will not die. 

happy Garden ! whose seclusion deep 
Hath been so friendly to industrious hours ; 
And to soft slumbers, that did gently steep 
Our spirits, carrying with them dreams of flowers, 
And wild notes warbled among leafy bowers ; 
Two burning months let summer overleap, 
And, coming back with Her who will be ours, 
Into thy bosom we again shall creep. 

1802. 



V, 

STANZAS 

WRITTEN IN MY POCKET-COPY OF THOMSON'S CASTLE OF INDOLENCE. 

[Composed in the orchard, Town-end, Grasmere, Coleridge living 
with lis much at the time : his son Hartley has said, that 
his father's character and habits are here preserved in a 
livelier way than in anything that has been written about 
him.] 

Within our happy Castle there dwelt One 

"Whom without blame I may not overlook ; 

!For never sun on living creature shone 

Who more devout enjoyment with us took: 

Here on his hours he hung as on a book, 

On his own time here would he float away, 

As doth a fly upon a summer brook ; 

But go to-morrow, or belike to-day. 

Seek for him, — he is fled ; and whither none can say. 



246 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Thus often would he leave our peaceful home, 

And find elsewhere his business or delight ; 

Out of our Valley's limits did he roam : 

Full many a time, upon a stormy night, 

His voice came to us from the neighbouring height : 

Oft could we see him driving full in view 

At mid-day when the sun was shining bright ; 

"What ill was on him, what he had to do, 

A mighty wonder bred among our quiet crew. 

Ah ! piteous sight it was to see this Man 

When he came back to us, a withered flower, — 

Or like a sinful creature, pale and wan. 

Down would he sit ; and without strength or power 

Look at the common grass from hour to hour : 

And oftentimes, how long I fear to say. 

Where apple-trees in blossom made a bower, 

Eetired in that sunshiny shade he lay ; 

And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away. 

Great wonder to our gentle tribe it was 

Whenever from our Valley he withdrew ; 

For happier soul no living creature has 

Than he had, being here the long day through. 

Some thought he was a lover, and did woo : 

Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong ; 

But verse was what he had been wedded to ; 

And his own mind did like a tempest strong 

Come to him thus, and drove the weary Wight along. 

With him there often walked in friendly guise, 
Or lay upon the moss by brook or tree, 
A noticeable Man with large grey eyes, 



STANZAS. 247 

And a pale face that seemed undoubtedly 
As if a blooming face it ought to be ; 
Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear, 
Deprest by weight of musing Phantasy ; 
Profound his forehead was, though not severe ; 
Yet some did think that he had little business here : 

Sweet heaven forefend ! his was a lawful right ; 

Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy ; 

His limbs would toss about him with delight 

Like branches when strong winds the trees annoy. 

Nor lacked his calmer hours device or toy 

To banish listlessness and irksome care ; 

He would have taught you how you might employ 

Yourself; and many did to him repair, — 

And certes not in vain ; he had inventions rare. 

Expedients, too, of simplest sort he tried : 

Long blades of grass, plucked round him as he lay. 

Made, to his ear attentively applied, 

A pipe on which the wind would deftly play ; 

Glasses he had, that little things display. 

The beetle panoplied in gems and gold, 

A mailed angel on a battle- day ; 

The mysteries that cups of flowers enfold, 

And all the gorgeous sights which fairies do behold. 

He would entice that other Man to hear 

His music, and to view his imagery : 

And, sooth, these two were each to the other dear : 

No livelier love in such a place could be : 

There did they dwell — from earthly labour free, 



248 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

As happy spirits as were ever seen ; 
If but a bird, to keep them company, 
Or butterfly sate down, they were, I ween. 
As pleased as if the same had been a Maiden-queen. 

1802. 



LOUISA. 

AFTER ACCOMPANYING HER ON A MOUNTAIN EXCURSION. 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. ] 

I MET Louisa in the shade, 

And, having seen that lovely Maid, 

Why should I fear to say 

That, nymph-like, she is fleet and strong. 

And down the rocks can leap along 

Like rivulets in May ? 

She loves her fire, her cottage-home ; 
Yet o'er the moorland will she roam 
In weather rough and bleak ; 
And, when against the wind she strains. 
Oh ! might I kiss the mountain rains 
That sparkle on her cheek. 

Take all that's mine ^ beneath the moon,' 

If I with her but half a noon 

May sit beneath the walls 

Of some old cave, or mossy nook, 

"When up she winds along the brook 

To hunt the waterfalls. 

1805. 



STANZAS. 249 

Til. 

[The next three poems were written in Grermany.] 

STRAisraE fits of passion have I known : 
And I will dare to tell, 
But in the Lover's ear alone, 
What once to me befel. 

"When she I loved looked every day 
Fresh as a rose in June, 
I to her cottage bent my way, 
Beneath an evening-moon. 

Upon the moon I fixed my eye. 

All over the wide lea ; 

With quickening pace my horse drew nigh 

Those paths so dear to me. 

And now we reached the orchard-plot ; 
And, as we climbed the hill, 
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot 
Came near, and nearer still. 

In one of those sweet dreams I slept. 
Kind Nature's gentlest boon ! 
And all the while my eyes I kept 
On the descending moon. 

My horse moved on ; hoof after hoof 
He raised, and never stopped : 
When down behind the cottage roof. 
At once, the bright moon dropped. 



250 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide 

Into a Lover's head ! 

" O mercy 1 " to myself I cried, 

" If Lucy should be dead ! " 



1799. 



YIII. 

She dwelt among the untrodden ways 

Beside the springs of Dove, 
A Maid whom there were none to praise 

And very few to love : 

A violet by a mossy stone 

Half hidden from the eye ! 
— Pair as a star, when only one 

Is shining in the sky. 

She lived unknown, and few could know 

When Lucy ceased to be ; 
But she is in her grave, and, oh. 

The difference to me ! 

179 



IX. 



I TRATELLED among unknown men, 
In lands beyond the sea ; 

Nor, England ! did I know till then 
What love I bore to thee. 



STANZAS. 251 

'Tis past, that melanclioly dream ! 

ISTor will I quit thy shore 
A second time ; for still I seem 

To love thee more and more. 

Among thy mountains did I feel 

The joy of my desire ; 
And she I cherished turned her wheel 

Beside an English fire. 

Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed 

The bowers where Lucy played ; 
And thine too is the last green field 

That Lucy's eyes surveyed. 

1799. 



[Written at Rydal Mount. Suggested by the condition of a friend. ] 

Eee with cold beads of midnight dew 

Had mingled tears of thine, 
I grieved, fond Youth ! that thou shouldst sue 

To haughty Greraldine. 

Immoveable by generous sighs, 

She glories in a train 
Who drag, beneath our native skies. 

An oriental chain. 

Pine not like them with arms across, 

Forgetting in thy care 
How the fast-rooted trees can toss 

Their branches in mid air. 



252 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

The humblest rivulet will take 

Its own wild liberties ; 
And, every day, the imprisoned lake 

Is flowing in the breeze. 

Then, crouch no more on suppliant knee, 
But scorn with scorn outbrave ; 

A Briton, even in love, should be 
A subject, not a slave ! 

1826. 



XI. 

TO 



[Written at Rydal Mount. Prompted by the undue importance 
attached to personal beauty by some dear friends of mine.] 

Look at the fate of summer flowers, 
"Which blow at daybreak, droop ere even-song ; 
And, grieved for their brief date, confess that ours, 
Measured by what we are and ought to be. 
Measured by all that, trembling, we foresee. 
Is not so long 1 

If human Life do pass away, 
Perishing yet more swiftly than the flower. 
If we are creatures of a winter's day ; 
What space hath Virgin's beauty to disclose 
Her sweets, and triumph o'er the breathing rose ? 
Not even an hour ! 



THE FOESAKEN. 253 

The deepest grove whose foliage hid 
The happiest lovers Arcady might boast, 
Could not the entrance of this thought forbid : 
O be thou wise as they, soul-gifted Maid ! 
ISTor rate too high what must so quickly fade, 
So soon be lost. 

Then shall love teach some virtuous Youth 
' To draw, out of the object of his eyes,' 
The while on thee they gaze in simple truth, 
Hues more exalted, ' a refined Eorm,' 
That dreads not age, nor suffers from the worm. 
And never dies. 

1824. 



XII. 

THE FOESAKEN. 



[This was an overflow from tlie *' Affliction of Margaret ," and 

was excluded as superfluous there, but preserved in the faint 
hope that it may turn to account by restoring a shy lover to 
some forsaken damsel. My poetry has been complained of as 
deficient in interests of this sort, — a charge which the piece 
beginning, *' Lyre ! though such power do in thy magic live," 
will scarcely tend to obviate. The natural imagery of these 
verses was supplied by frequent, I might say intense, observa- 
tion of the Rydal torrent. What an animating contrast is the 
ever- changing aspect of that, and indeed of every one of our 
mountain brooks, to the monotonous tone and unmitigated fury 
of such streams among the Alps as are fed all the summer long 
by glaciers and melting snows. A traveller observing the ex- 
quisite purity of the great rivers, such as the Rhine at Greneva, 
and the Reuss at Lucerne, when they issue out of their re- 
spective lakes, might fancy for a moment that some power in 
nature produced this beautiful change, with a view to make 
amends for those Alpine sullyings which the waters exhibit 



254 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

near tlieir fountain heads ; but, alas ! how soon does that 
purity depart before the influx of tributary waters that have 
flowed through cultivated plains and the crowded abodes of 
men.] 

The peace whicli others seek tliey find ; 
The heaviest storms not longest last ; 
Heaven grants even to the guiltiest mind 
An amnesty for what is past ; 
When will my sentence be reversed ? 
I only pray to know the worst ; 
And wish as if my heart would burst. 

weary struggle ! silent years 
Tell seemingly no doubtful tale ; 
And yet they leave it short, and fears 
And hopes are strong and will prevail. 
My calmest faith escapes not pain ; 
And, feeling that the hope is vain, 

1 think that he will come again. 

1804. 



XITI. 

'Tis said, that some have died for love : 

And here and there a church-yard grave is found 

In the cold north's unhallowed ground, 

Because the wretched man himself had slain, 

His love was such a grievous pain. 

And there is one whom I five years have known ; 

He dwells alone 

Upon Helvellyn's side : 

He loved — the pretty Barbara died ; 



STANZAS. 255 

And thus he makes his moan : 

Three years had Barbara in her grave been laid 

"When thus his moan he made : 

" Oh, move, thou Cottage, from behind that" oak ! 

Or let the aged tree uprooted lie. 

That in some other way yon smoke 

May mount into the sky ! 

The clouds pass on ; they from the heavens depart : 

I look — the sky is empty space ; 

I know not what I trace ; 

But when I cease to look, my hand is on my heart. 

! what a weight is in these shades ! Ye leaves. 

That murmur once so dear, when will it cease ? 

Tour sound my heart of rest bereaves, 

It robs my heart of peace. 

Thou Thrush, that singest loud — and loud and free. 

Into yon row of willows flit. 

Upon that alder sit ; 

Or sing another song, or choose another tree. 

Eoll back, sweet Eill ! back to thy mountain-bounds. 

And there for ever be thy waters chained ! 

!For thou dost haunt the air with sounds 

That cannot be sustained ; 

If still beneath that pine-tree's ragged bough 

Headlong yon waterfall must come, 

Oh let it then be dumb ! 

Be anything, sweet E/ill, but that which thou art now. 

Thou Eglantine, so bright with sunny showers. 
Proud as a rainbow spanning half the vale. 
Thou one fair shrub, oh ! shed thy flowers, 
And stir not in the gale. 



256 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Tor thus to see tliee nodding in the air, 

To see thy arch thus stretch and bend, 

Thus rise and thus descend, — 

Disturbs me till the sight is more than I can bear." 

The Man who makes this feverish complaint 

Is one of giant stature, who could dance 

Equipped from head to foot in iron mail. 

Ah gentle Love ! if ever thought was thine 

To store up kindred hours for me, thy face 

Turn from me, gentle Love ! nor let me walk 

"Within the sound of Em.ma's voice, nor know 

Such happiness as I have known to-day. 

1800. 



XIV. 

A COMPLAINT. 



[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. Suggested by a change in the 
manner of a friend.] 

There is a change — and I am poor ; 
Tour love hath been, not long ago, 
A fountain at my fond heart's door. 
Whose only business was to flow ; 
And flow it did : not taking heed 
Of its own bounty, or my need. 

What happy moments did I count ! 
Blest was I then all bliss above ! 
Now, for that consecrated fount 
Of murmuring, sparkling, living love, 



TO . 257 

What have I ? shall I dare to tell ? 
A comfortless and hidden well. 

A well of love — it may be deep — 
I trust it is, — and never dry : 
What matter ? if the waters sleep 
In silence and obscurity. 
— Sucb change, and at the very door 
Of my fond heart, hafch made me poor. 

1806. 



XV. 

TO 



[Written at Eydal Mount. On Mrs. Words worth.] 

Let other bards of angels sing, 

Bright suns without a spot ; 
But thou art no such perfect thing : 

Eejoice that thou art not ! 

Heed not tho' none should call thee fair ; 

So, Mary, let it be 
If nought in loveliness compare 

With what thou art to me. 

True beauty dwells in deep retreats. 

Whose veil is unremoved 
Till heart with heart in concord beats. 

And the lover is beloved. 

1824. 



258 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 



XYI. 

Yes ! thou art fair, yet be not moved 

To scorn the declaration, 
That sometimes I in thee have loved 

My fancy's own creation. 

Imagination needs must stir ; 

Dear Maid, this truth believe, 
Minds that have nothing to confer 

rind little to perceive. 

Be pleased that nature made thee fit 

To feed my heart's devotion. 
By laws to which all Forms submit 
. In sky, air, earth, and ocean. 



XVII. 

[Written at Eydal Mount. Mrs. Wordsworth.' s impression is that 
the Poem was written at Coleorton : it was certainly suggested 
by a Print at Coleorton Hal].] 

How rich that forehead's calm expanse ! 

How bright that heaven-directed glance ! 

— "Waft her to glory, winged Powers, 

Ere sorrow be renewed. 

And intercourse with mortal hours 

Bring back a humbler mood ! 

So looked Cecilia when she drew 

An Angel from his station ; 

So looked ; not ceasing to pursue 

Her tuneful adoration ! 



STANZAS. 259 

But hand and voice alike are still ; 

JN'o sound here sweeps away the will 

That gave it birth : in service meek 

One upright arm sustains the cheek, 

And one across the bosom lies — 

That rose, and now forgets to rise, 

Subdued by breathless harmonies 

Of meditative feeling ; 

Mute strains from worlds beyond the skies, 

Through the pure light of female eyes. 

Their sanctity revealing ! 

1824. 



XVIII. 

"What heavenly smiles ! Lady mine 
Through my very heart they shine ; 
And, if my brow gives back their light, 
Do thou look gladly on the sight ; 
As the clear Moon with modest pride 

Beholds her own bright beams 
Eeflected from the mountain's side 

And from the headlong streams. 



XIX. 

TO 



[Written at Rydal Mount. To Mrs. W.] 

O DEAEEE far than light and life are dear, 
!Full oft our human foresight I deplore ; 
Trembling, through my unworthiness, with fear 
That friends, by death disjoined, may meet no more ! 



260 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Misgivings, hard to vanquish or control, 
Mix with the day, and cross the hour of rest ; 
"While all the future, for thy purer soul, 
With * sober certainties' of love is blest. 

That sigh of thine, not meant for human ear, 
Tells that these words thy humbleness offend ; 
Yet bear me up — else faltering in the rear 
Of a steep march : support me to the end. 

Peace settles where the intellect is meek, 
And Love is dutiful in thought and deed ; 
Through Thee communion with that Love I seek : 
The faith Heaven strengthens where lie moulds the 
Creed. 

1824. 



XX. 

LAMENT OF MAEY ftUEEN OF SCOTS. 

ON THE EVE OF A NEW YEAK, 

[This arose out of a flash of moonlight that struck the ground when 
I was approaching the steps that lead from the garden at 
Rydal Moimt to the front of the house. * ' From her sunk eye 
a stagnant tear stole forth" is taken, with some loss, from a 
discarded poem, " The Convict," in which occurred, when he 
was discovered lying in the cell, these lines : — 

" But now he upraises the deep-sunken eye, 
The motion unsettles a tear ; 
The silence of sorrow it seems to supply 
And asks of me — why I am here."] 

I. 

Smile of the Moon ! — ^for so I name 
That silent greeting from above ; 
A gentle flash of light that came 
From her whom drooping captives love ; 



LAMENT OF MART QUEEN OF SCOTS. 261 

Or art thou of still higher birth ? 

Thou that didst part the clouds of earth, 

My torpor to reprove ! 

IT. 

Bright boon of pitying Heaven ! — alas, 
I may not trust thy placid cheer ! 
Pondering that Time to-night will pass 
The threshold of another year ; 
For years to me are sad and dull ; 
My very moments are too full 
Of hopelessness and fear. 

III. 
And yet, the soul-awakening gleam, 
That struck perchance the farthest cone 
Of Scotland's rocky wilds, did seem 
To visit me, and me alone ; 
Me, unapproached by any friend. 
Save those who to my sorrows lend 
Tears due unto their own. 

IV. 

To-night the church-tower bells will ring 
Through these wide realms a festive peal ; 
To the new year a welcoming ; 
A tuneful oifering for the weal 
Of happy millions lulled in sleep ; 
While I am forced to watch and weep, 
By wounds that may not heal. 

v. 
Born all too high, by wedlock raised 
Still higher — to be cast thus low ! 
Would that mine eyes had never gazed 
On aught of more ambitious show 



262 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Than the sweet flowerets of the fields ! 
— It is my royal state that yields 
This bitterness of woe. 

VI. 

Yet how ? — for I, if there be truth 
In the world's voice, was passing fair ; 
And beauty, for confiding youth, 
Those shocks of passion can prepare 
That kill the bloom before its time ; 
And blanch, without the owner's crime. 
The most resplendent hair. 

YII. 

Unblest distinction ! showered on me 
To bind a lingering life in chains : 
All that could quit my grasp, or flee, 
Is gone ; — but not the subtle stains 
Fixed in the spirit ; for even here 
Can I be proud that jealous fear 
Of what I was remains, 

VIII. 

A "Woman rules my prison's key ; 
A sister Queen, against the bent 
Of law and holiest sympathy, 
Detains me, doubtful of the event ; 
G-reat- Grod, who feel'st for my distress, 
My thoughts are all that I possess, 
keep them innocent ! 

IX. 

Earewell desire of human aid, 
Which abject mortals vainly court ! 
By friends deceived, by foes betrayed. 
Of fears the prey, of hopes the sport ; 



THE COMPLAINT. 263 

Nought but the world-redeeming Cross 
Is able to supply my loss, 
My burthen to support. 

X. 

Hark ! the death-note of the year 
Sounded by the castle-clock ! 
From her sunk eyes a stagnant tear 
Stole forth, unsettled by the shock ; 
But oft the woods renewed their green, 
Ere the tired head of Scotland's Queen 
Eeposed upon the block ! 

1817. 



XXI. 

THE COMPLAINT 

OF A FOKSAKEN INDIAN WOMAN. 

[Written at Alfoxden, where I read Hearne's Journey with deep 
interest. It was composed for the volume of Lyrical Ballads.] 

When a Northern Indian, from sickness, is unable to continue his 
journey with his companions, he is left behind, covered over 
with deer-skins, and is supplied with water, food, and fuel, if 
the situation of the place will afford it. He is informed of the 
track which his companions intend to pursue, and if he be 
unable to follow, or overtake them, he perishes alone in the 
desert ; unless he should have the good fortune to fall in with 
some other tribes of Indians. The females are equally, or 
still more, exposed to the same fate . See that very interesting 
work Hearne's Journey from Hudson's Bay to the Northern 
Ocean. In the high northern latitudes, as the same writer 
informs us, when the northern lights vary their position in the 
air, they make a rustling and a crackling noise, as alluded to 
in the following poem. 

I. 

BEroEE I see another day, 
Oh let my body die away ! 



264 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

In sleep I heard the northern gleams ; 
The stars, they were among mj dreams ; 
In rustling conflict through the skies, 
I heard, I saw the flashes drive. 
And yet they are upon my eyes. 
And yet I am alive ; 
Before I see another day, 
Oh let my body die away ! 



IT. 

My fire is dead : it knew no pain ; 

Yet is it dead, and I remain : 

All stifl* with ice the ashes lie ; 

And they are dead, and I will die. 

When I was well, I wished to live, 

Eor clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire ; 

But they to me no joy can give, 

'No pleasure now, and no desire. 

Then here contented will I lie ! 

Alone, I cannot fear to die. 



Alas ! ye might have dragged me on 

Another day, a single one ! 

Too soon I yielded to despair ; 

Why did ye listen to my prayer ? 

When ye wfere gone my limbs were stronger ; 

And oh, how grievously I rue. 

That, afterwards, a little longer, 

My friends, I did not follow you 1 

Por strong and without pain I lay. 

Dear friends, when ye were gone away. 



THE COMPLAINT. 2o5 

IV. 

Mj Child ! they gave thee to another, 

A woman who was not thy mother. 

When from my arms my Babe they took, 

On me how strangely did he look ! 

Through his whole body something ran, 

A most strange working did I see ; 

— As if he strove to be a man, 

That he might pull the sledge for me : 

And then he stretched his arms, how wild ! ^ 

Oh mercy ! like a helpless child. 



My little joy ! my little pride ! 
In two days more I must have died. 
Then do not weep and grieve for me ; 
I feel I must have died with thee. 

wind, that o'er my head art flying 

The way my friends their course did bend, 

1 should not feel the pain of dying, 
Could I with thee a message send ; 
Too soon, my friends, ye went away ; 
For I had many things to say. 

VI. 

I'll follow you across the snow ; 
Ye travel heavily and slow ; 
In spite of all my weary pain 
I'll look upon your tents again. 
— My fire is dead, and snowy white 
The water which beside it stood : 
The wolf has come to me to-night. 
And he has stolen away my food. 



266 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

For ever left alone am I ; 

Then wherefore should I fear to die ? 



Toung as I am, my course is run, 

I shall not see another sun ; 

I cannot lift my limbs to know 

If they have any life or no. 

My poor forsaken Child, if I 

For once could have thee close to me, 

"With happy heart I then would die. 

And my last thought would happy be ; 

But thou, dear Babe, art far away. 

Nor shall I see another day. 

1798. 



XXII. 

THE LAST OF THE FLOCK. 

[Produced at the same time and for tlie same purpose. The 
incident occurred in the village of Holford, close by Alfoxden.] ^ 

I. 
In distant countries have I been. 
And yet I have not often seen 
A healthy man, a man full grown, 
Weep in the public roads, alone. 
But such a one, on English ground, 
And in the broad highway, I met ; 
Along the broad highway he came. 
His cheeks with tears were wet : 
Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad ; 
And in his arms a Lamb he had. 



THE LAST OF THE FLOCK. 267 

II. 

He saw me, and he turned aside, 

As if he wished himself to hide : 

And with his coat did then essay 

To wipe those briny tears away. 

I followed him, and said, " My friend. 

What ails you ? wherefore weep you so ?" 

— " Shame on me, Sir ! this lusty Lamb, 

He makes my tears to flow. 

To-day I fetched him from the rock ; 

He is the last of all my flock. 



When I was young, a single man, 
And after youthful follies ran. 
Though little given to care and thought. 
Yet, so it was, an ewe I bought ; 
And other sheep from her I raised. 
As healthy sheep as you might see ; 
And then I married, and was rich 
As I could wish to be ; 
Of sheep I numbered a full score. 
And every year increased my store. 



Year after year my stock it grew ; 
And from this one, this single ewe, 
Pull fifty comely sheep I raised. 
As fine a flock as ever grazed ! 
Upon the Quantock hills they fed ; 
They throve, and we at home did thrive : 
— This lusty Lamb of all my store 
Is all that is alive ; 



268 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

And now I care not if we die, 
And perish all of poverty. 



Six Children, Sir ! had I to feed ; 

Hard labour in a time of need ! 

Mj pride was tamed, and in our grief 

I of the Parish asked relief. 

They said, I was a wealthy man ; 

My sheep upon the uplands fed. 

And it was fit that thence I took 

Whereof to buy us bread. 

' Do this : how can we give to you,' 

They cried, * what to the poor is due ?' 



I sold a sheep, as they had said. 
And bought my little children bread. 
And they were healthy with their food ; 
For me — it never did me good. 
A woeful time it was for me. 
To see the end of all my gains. 
The pretty flock which I had reared 
"With all my care and pains. 
To see it melt like snow away — 
For me it was a woeful day. 

VII. 

Another still ! and still another ! 

A little lamb, and then its mother ! 

It was a vein that never stopped — 

Like blood-drops from my heart they dropped. 

'Till thirty were not left alive 



THE LAST OF THE FLOCK. 269 

They dwindled, dwindled, one by one ; 
And I may say, that many a time 
I wished they all were gone — 
Eeckless of what might come at last 
"Were but the bitter struggle past. 

VITI. 

To wicked deeds I was inclined, 

And wicked fancies crossed my mind ; 

And every man I chanced to see, 

I thought he knew some ill of me : 

No peace, no comfort could I find, 

No ease, within doors or without ; 

And, crazily and wearily 

I went my work about ; 

And oft was moved to flee from home, 

And hide my head where wild beasts roam. 



Sir ! 'twas a precious flock to me, 

As dear as my own children be ; 

!For daily with my growing store 

I loved my children more and more. 

Alas ! it was an evil time ; 

God cursed me in my sore distress ; 

I prayed, yet every day I thought 

I loved my children less ; 

And every week, and every day. 

My flock it seemed to melt away. 



They dwindled. Sir, sad sight to see ! 
Prom ten to five, from five to three, 



270 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

A lamb, a wether, and a ewe ; — 
And then at last from three to two ; 
And, of my fifty, yesterday 
I had but only one : 
And here it lies upon my arm, 
Alas ! and I have none ; — 
To-day I fetched it from the rock ; 
It is the last of all my flock." 

1798. 



XXIII. 

REPENTANCE. 

A PASTORAL BALLAD. 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. Suggested by the conversation 
of our next neighbour, Margaret Ashburner.] 

The fields which with covetous spirit we sold. 

Those beautiful fields, the delight of the day, 

"Would have brought us more good than a burthen of 

gold. 
Could we but have been as contented as they. 

When the troublesome Tempter beset us, said I, 

' Let him come, with his purse proudly grasped in his 

hand; 
But, Allan, be true to me, Allan, — we'll die 
Before he shall go with an inch of the land ! ' 

There dwelt we, as happy as birds in their bowers ; 
Unfettered as bees that in gardens abide ; 
We could do what we liked with the land, it was ours ; 
And for us the brook murmured that ran by its side. 



REPENTANCE. 271 

But now we are strangers, go early or late ; 
And often, like one overburthened with sin, 
With my hand on the latch of the half-opened gate, 
I look at the fields, but I cannot go in ! 

"When I walk by the hedge on a bright summer's day, 

Or sit in the shade of my grandfather's tree, 

A stern face it puts on, as if ready to say, 

' What ails you, that you must come creeping to me ! ' 

With our pastures about us, we could not be sad ; 
Our comfort was near if we ever were crost ; 
But the comfort, the blessings, and wealth that we had. 
We slighted them all, — and our birth-right was lost. 

Oh, ill-judging sire of an innocent son 

Who must now be a wanderer 1 but peace to that 

strain 1 
Think of evening's repose when our labour was done. 
The sabbath's return ; and its leisure's soft chain ! 

And in sickness, if night had been sparing of sleep. 
How cheerful, afc sunrise, the hill where I stood. 
Looking down on the kine, and our treasure of sheep 
That besprinkled the field; 'twas like youth in my 
blood! 

Now I cleave to the house, and am dull as a snail ; 
And, oftentimes, hear the church-bell with a sigh. 
That follows the thought — We've no land in the vale, 
Save six feet of earth where our forefathers lie ! 

1804. 



272 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

XXIY. 

THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET . 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. This was taken from the case 
of a poor widow who lived in the town of Penrith. Her 
sorrow was well known to Mrs. Wordsworth, to my Sister, 
and, I believe, to the whole town. She kept a shop, and when 
she saw a stranger passing by, she was in the habit of going 
ouii into the street to enquire of him after her son.] 

I. 

Where art thou, my beloved Son, 
"Where art thou, worse to me than dead ? 
Oh find me, prosperous or undone ! 
Or, if the grave be now thy bed. 
Why am I ignorant of the same 
That I may rest ; and neither blame 
Nor sorrow may attend thy name ? 

ir. 
Seven years, alas ! to have received 
'No tidings of an only child ; 
To have despaired, have hoped, believed. 
And been for evermore beguiled ; 
Sometimes with thoughts of very bliss ! 
I catch at them, and then I miss ; 
Was ever darkness like to this ? 

III. 
He was among the prime in worth, 
An object beauteous to behold ; 
Well born, well bred ; I sent him forth 
Ingenuous, innocent, and bold : 
If things ensued that wanted grace, 
As hath been said, they were not base ; 
And never blush was on my face. 



THE AFFLICTION OF MAKGARET . 273 

IV. 

All ! little doth the young-one dream, 
When full of play and childish cares, 
"What power is in his wildest scream, 
Heard by his mother unawares ! 
He knows it not, he cannot guess : 
Tears to a mother bring distress ; 
But do not make her love the less. 

V. 

IN'eglect me ! no, I suiFered long 
Erom that ill thought ; and, being blind, 
Said, * Pride shall help me in my wrong ; 
Kind mother have I been, as kind 
As ever breathed :' and that is true ; 
I've wet my path with tears like dew. 
Weeping for him when no one knew. 

VI. 

My Son, if thou be humbled, poor. 
Hopeless of honour and of gain. 
Oh ! do not dread thy mother's door ; 
Think not of me with grief and pain : 
I now can see with better eyes ; 
And worldly grandeur T despise, 
And fortune with her gifts and lies. 

VII. 

Alas ! the fowls of heaven have wings. 
And blasts of heaven will aid their flight ; 
They mount — how short a voyage brings 
The wanderers back to their delight ! 
Chains tie us down by land and sea ; 
And wishes, vain as mine, may be 
All that is left to comfort thee. 



274 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

VIII. 

Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan, 
Maimed, mangled by inhuman men ; 
Or thou upon a desert thrown 
Inheritest the lion's den ; 
Or hast been summoned to the deep. 
Thou, thou and all thj mates, to keep 
An incommunicable sleep. 

IX. 

I look for ghosts ; but none will force 
Their way to me : 'tis falsely said 
That there was ever intercourse 
Between the living and the dead ; 
Por, surely, then I should have sight 
Of him I wait for day and night, 
With love and longings infinite. 

X. 

My apprehensions come in crowds ; 
I dread the rustling of the grass ; 
The very shadows of the clouds 
Have power to shake me as they pass : 
I question things and do not find 
One that will answer to my mind ; 
And all the world appears unkind. 

XI. 

Beyond participation lie 
My troubles, and beyond relief: 
If any chance to heave a sigh. 
They pity me, and not my grief. 
Then come to me, my Son, or send 
Some tidings that my woes may end ; 
I have no other earthly friend ! 

1804. 



275 



XXY. 

THE COTTAGEE TO HEE INFANT. 

BY MY SISTER. 

[Suggested to her while beside my sleeping cHldren.] 

The days are cold, tlie niglits are long, 
The north-wind sings a doleful song ; 
Then hush again upon my breast ; 
All merry things are now at rest, 
Save thee, my pretty Love ! 

The kitten sleeps upon the hearth, 
The crickets long have ceased their mirth ; 
There's nothing stirring in the house 
Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse, 
Then why so busy thou ? 

Nay ! start not at that sparkling light ; 
'Tis but the moon that shines so bright 
On the window pane bedropped with rain : 
Then, little Darling! sleep again, 
And wake when it is day. 



1805. 



T 2 



276 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

XXTI. 

MATEENAL GETEF. 

[This was in part an overflow from the Solitary's description of 
his own and his wife's feelings upon the decease of their chil- 
dren. (See "Excursion," book 3rd.)] 

Departed Child ! I could forget thee once 
Though at my bosom nursed ; this woeful gain 
Thy dissolution brings, that in my soul 
Is present and perpetually abides 
A shadow, never, never to be displaced 
Ey the returning substance, seen or touched. 
Seen by mine eyes, or clasped in my embrace. 
Absence and death how differ they ! anS how 
Shall I admit that nothing can restore 
"What one short sigh so easily removed ? — 
Death, life, and sleep, reality and thought, 
Assist me, Grod, their boundaries to know, 
O teach me calm submission to thy "Will ! 

The Child she mourned had overstepped the pale 
Of Infancy, but still did breathe the air 
That sanctifies its confines, and partook 
Reflected beams of that celestial light 
To all the Little-ones on sinful earth 
Not unvouchsafed — a light that warmed and cheered 
Those several qualities of heart and mind 
Which, in her own blest nature, rooted deep. 
Daily before the Mother's watchful eye. 
And not hers only, their peculiar charms 
Unfolded, — beauty, for its present self, 



MATERNAL GRIEF. 277 

And for its promises to future years, 
"With not unfrequent rapture fondly hailed. 

Have you espied upon a dewy lawn 
A pair of Leverets each provoking each 
To a continuance of their fearless sport, 
Two separate Creatures in their several gifts 
Abounding, but so fashioned that, in all 
That Nature prompts them to display, their looks, 
Their starts of motion and their fits of rest, 
An un distinguishable style appears 
And character of gladness, as if Spring 
Lodged in their innocent bosoms, and the spirit 
Of the rejoicing morning were their own. 

Such union, in the lovely Grirl maintained 
And her twin Brother, had the parent seen. 
Ere, pouncing like a ravenous bird of prey. 
Death in a moment parted them, and left 
The Mother, in her turns of anguish, worse 
Than desolate ; for oft-times from the sound 
Of the survivor's sweetest voice (dear child. 
He knew it not) and from his happiest looks, 
Did she extract the food of self-reproach. 
As one that lived ungrateful for the stay 
By Heaven afibrded to uphold her maimed 
And tottering spirit. And full oft the Boy, 
Now first acquainted with distress and grief, 
Shrunk from his Mother's presence, shunned with fear 
Her sad approach, and stole away to find. 
In his known haunts of joy where'er he might, 
A more congenial object. But, as time 
Softened her pangs and reconciled the child 
To what he saw, he gradually returned. 
Like a scared Bird encouraged to renew 



278 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

A broken intercourse ; and, wHile his eyes 

Were yet with pensive fear and gentle awe 

Turned upon her who bore him, she would stoop 

To imprint a kiss that lacked not power to spread 

Eaint colour over both their pallid cheeks. 

And stilled his tremulous lip. Thus they were calmed 

And cheered ; and now together breathe fresh air 

In open fields ; and when the glare of day 

Is gone, and twilight to the Mother's wish 

Befriends the observance, readily they join 

In walks whose boundary is the lost One's grave, 

Which he with flowers hath planted, finding there 

Amusement, where the Mother does not miss 

Dear consolation, kneeling on the turf 

In prayer, yet blending with that solemn rite 

Of pious faith the vanities of grief; 

'For such, by pitying Angels and by Spirits 

Transferred to regions upon which the clouds 

Of our weak nature rest not, must be deemed 

Those willing tears, and unforbidden sighs. 

And all those tokens of a cherished sorrow, 

Which, soothed and sweetened by the grace of Heaven 

As now it is, seems to her own fond heart, 

Immortal as the love that gave it being. 



279 

XXVII. 

THE SAILOR'S MOTHER. 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. I met this woman near the 
Wishing-gate, on the high-road that then led from Grasmere 
to Ambleside. Her appearance was exactly as here described, 
and such was her account, nearly to the letter.] 

One morning (raw it was and wet — 
A. foggy day in winter time) 
A Woman on the road I met, 
Not old, though something past her prime ; 
Majestic in her person, tall and straight ; 
And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait. 

The ancient spirit is not dead ; 
Old times, thought I, are breathing there ; 
Proud was I that my country bred 
Such strength, a dignity so fair : 
She begged an alms, like one in poor estate ; 
I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate. 

When from these lofty thoughts I woke, 
"What is it," said I, " that you bear, 
Beneath the covert of your Cloak, 
Protected from this cold damp air?" 
She answered, soon as she the question heard, 
"A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird." 

And, thus continuing, she said, 
"I had a Son, who many a day 
Sailed on the seas, but he is dead ; 
In Denmark he was cast away : 



280 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

And I have travelled weary miles to see 
If aught which he had owned might still remain for me. 

The bird and cage they both were his : 
'Twas my Son's bird ; and neat and trim 
He kept it : many voyages 
The singing-bird had gone with him ; 
"When last he sailed, he left the bird behind ; 
Prom bodings, as might be, that hung upon his mind. 

He to a fellow-lodger's care 
Had left it, to be watched and fed. 
And pipe its song in safety ; — there 
I found it when my Son was dead ; 
And now, Grod help me for my little wit ! 
I bear it with me, Sir ; — he took so much delight in it." 

1800. 



XXVIII. 

THE CHILDLESS FATHER, 

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. "When I was a child at Cocker- 
month, no funeral took place without a basin filled with sprigs 
of boxwood being placed upon a table covered with a white 
cloth in front of the house. The huntings on foot, in which 
the old man is supposed to join as here described, were of 
common, almost habitual, occurrence in our vales when I was 
a boy ; and the people took much delight in them. They are 
now less frequent.] 

" Up, Timothy, up with your staif and away ! 
Not a soul in the village this morning will stay ; 
The hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds, 
And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds." 



THE EMIGKANT MOTHER. 281 

— Of coats and of jackets grey, scarlet, and green, 
On the slopes of the pastures all colours were seen ; 
With their comely blue aprons, and caps white as snow, 
The girls on the hills made a holiday show. 

Eresh sprigs of green box-wood, not six months before, 
Pilled the funeral basin * at Timothy's door ; 
A coffin through Timothy's threshold had past ; 
One Child did it bear, and that Child was his last. 

Kow fast up the dell came the noise and the fray, 
The horse and the horn, and the hark ! hark away ! 
Old Timothy took up his staff, and he shut 
With a leisurely motion the door of his hut. 

Perhaps to himself at that moment he said ; 
' The key I must take, for my Ellen is dead.' 
But of this in my ears not a word did he speak ; 
And he went to the chase with a tear on his cheek. 

1800. 



XXIX. 

THE EMIGEANT MOTHEE. 

[Suggested by what I have noticed in more than one French fugitive 
during the time of the French Revolution. If I am not mis- 
taken, the lines were composed at Sock burn, when I was on a 
visit to Mrs. Wordsworth and her brother.] 

Once in a lonely hamlet I sojourned 
In which a Lady driven from Erance did dwell ; 
The big and lesser griefs with which she mourned. 
In friendship she to me would often telL 

* In several parts of the North of Englaud, when a funeral takes place, 
a basin full of sprigs of box- wood is placed at the door of the house from 



282 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

This Lady, dwelling upon British ground, 
Where she was childless, daily would repair 
To a poor neighbouring cottage ; as I found, 
For sake of a young Child whose home was there. 

Once having seen her clasp with fond embrace 
This Child, I chanted to myself a lay. 
Endeavouring, in our English tongue, to trace 
Such things as she unto the Babe might say : 
And thus, from what I heard and knew, or guessed. 
My song the workings of her heart expressed. 

I. 
" Dear Babe, thou daughter of another. 
One moment let me be thy mother ! 
An infant's face and looks are thine 
And sure a mother's heart is mine : 
Thy own dear mother's far away, 
At labour in the harvest field : 
Thy little sister is at play ; — 
What warmth, what comfort would it yield 
To my poor heart, if thou wouldst be 
One little hour a child to me I 



Across the waters I am come. 
And I have left a babe at home : 
A long, long way of land and sea ! 
Come to me — I'm no enemy : 
I am the same who at thy side 

which the coffin is taken up, and each person who attends the funeral 
ordinarily takes a sprig of this box-wood, and throws it into the grave of 
the deceased. 



THE EMIGRANT MOTHER. 283 

Sate yesterday, and made a nest 
For thee, sweet Baby ! — thou hast tried, 
Thou know'st the pillow of my breast ; 
Good, good art thou :~alas ! to me 
Far more than I can be to thee. 



Here, little Darling, dost thou lie ; 

An infant thou, a mother I ! 

Mine wilt thou be, thou hast no fears ; 

Mine art thou — spite of these my tears. 

Alas ! before I left the spot. 

My baby and its dwelling-place ; 

The nurse said to me, * Tears should not 

Be shed upon an infant's face, 

It was unlucky ' — no, no, no ; 

'No truth is in them who say so ! 



My own dear Little-one w411 sigh, 
Sweet Babe ! and they will let him die. 
* He pines,' they'll say, ' it is his doom, 
And you may see his hour is come.' 
Oh ! had he but thy cheerful smiles, 
Limbs stout as thine, and lips as gay. 
Thy looks, thy cunning, and thy wiles. 
And countenance like a summer's day. 
They would have hopes of him ; — and then 
I should behold his face again ! 

V. 

'Tis gone — like dreams that we forget ; 
There was a smile or two — yet — yet 



284 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

I can remember them, I see 

The smiles, worth all the world to me. 

Dear Baby ! I must lay thee down ; 

Thou troublest me with strange alarms ; 

Smiles hast thou, bright ones of thy own ; 

I cannot keep thee in my arms ; 

Por they confound me ; — where — where is 

That last, that sweetest smile of his ? 



Oh ! how I love thee ! — we will stay 
Together here this one half day. 
My sister's child, who bears my name, 
Prom Erance to sheltering England came ; 
She with her mother crossed the sea ; 
The babe and mother near me dwell : 
Yet does my yearning heart to thee 
Turn rather, though I love her well : 
Kest, little Stranger, rest thee here ! 
Never was any child more dear ! 



— I cannot help it ; ill intent 
I've none, my pretty Innocent ! 
I weep — I know they do thee wrong, 
These tears — and my poor idle tongue. 
Oh, what a kiss was that ! my cheek 
How cold it is ! but thou art good ; 
Thine eyes are on me — they would speak, 
I think, to help me if they could. 
Blessings upon that soft, warm face, 
My heart again is in its place ! 



VAUDEACOUR AND JULIA. 285 

VIII. 

"While tliou art mine, mj little Love, 

This cannot be a sorrowful grove ; 

Contentment, hope, and mother's glee, 

I seem to find them all in thee : 

Here's grass to play with, here are flowers ; 

I'll call thee by my darling's name ; 

Thou hast, I think, a look of ours. 

Thy features seem to me the same ; 

His little sister thou shalt be ; 

And, when once more my home I see, 

I'll tell him many tales of Thee." 

1802. 



XXX. 

YAUDEACOUE AND JULIA. 

[Wkitten at Town-end, Grasmere. Faithfully narrated, though 
with the omission of many pathetic circumstances, from the 
mouth of a French lady, who had been an eye-and-ear-witness 
of all that was done and said. Many long years after, I was 
told that Dupligne was then a monk in the Convent of La 
Trappe.] 

The following tale was written as an Episode, in a work from which 
. its length may perhaps exclude it. The facts are true ; no in- 
vention as to these has been exercised, as none was needed. 

HAPPY time of youthful lovers (thus 

My story may begin) balmy time, 

In which a love-knot on a lady's brow 

Is fairer than the fairest star in heaven ! 

To such inheritance of blessed fancy 

(Fancy that sports more desperately with minds 

Than ever fortune hath been known to do) 



286 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

The higli-born Vaudracour was brought, by years 

"Whose progress had a little overstepped 

His stripling prime. A town of small repute, 

Among the vine-clad mountains of Auvergne, 

Was the Youth's birth-place. There he wooed a Maid 

Who heard the heart-felt music of his suit 

With answering vows. Plebeian was the stock, 

Plebeian, though ingenuous, the stock, 

Prom which her graces and her honours sprung : 

And hence the father of the enamoured Youth, 

With haughty indignation, spurned the thought 

Of such alliance. — Prom their cradles up, 

With but a step between their several homes. 

Twins had they been in pleasure ; after strife 

And petty quarrels, had grown fond again ; 

Each other's advocate, each other's stay ; 

And, in their happiest moments, not content. 

If more divided than a sportive pair 

Of sea-fowl, conscious both that they are hovering 

Within the eddy of a common blast. 

Or hidden only by the concave depth. 

Of neighbouring billows from each other's sight. 

Thus, not without concurrence of an age 
Unknown to memory, was an earnest given 
By ready nature for a life of love, 
Por endless constancy, and placid truth ; 
But whatsoe'er of such rare treasure lay 
E/Cserved, had fate permitted, for support 
Of their maturer years, his present mind 
Was under fascination ; — he beheld 
A vision, and adored the thing he saw. 
Arabian fiction never filled the world 
With half the wonders that were wrought for him. 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. ' 287 

Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring ; 
Life turned the meanest of her implements, 
Before his eyes, to price above all gold ; 
The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine ; 
Her chamber-window did surpass in glory 
The portals of the dawn ; all paradise 
Could, by the simple opening of a door. 
Let itself in upon him ; — pathways, walks, 
Swarmed with enchantment, till his spirit sank, 
Surcharged, within him, overblest to move 
Beneath a sun that wakes a weary world 
To its dull round of ordinary cares ; 
A man too happy for mortality ! 

So passed the time, till whether through effect 
Of some unguarded moment that dissolved 
Virtuous restraint — ah, speak it, think it, not ! 
Deem rather that the fervent Youth, who saw 
So many bars between his present state 
And the dear haven where he wished to be 
In honourable wedlock with his Love, 
"Was in his judgment tempted to decline 
To perilous weakness, and entrust his cause 
To nature for a happy end of all ; 
Deem that by such fond hope the Youth was swayed. 
And bear with their transgression, when I add 
That Julia, wanting yet the name of wife, 
Carried about her for a secret grief 
The promise of a mother. 

To conceal 
The threatened shame, the parents of the Maid 
Pound means to hurry her away by night. 
And unf ore warned, that in some distant spot 
She might remain shrouded in privacy, 



288 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Until the babe was born. When morning came, 
The Lover, thus bereft, stung with his loss. 
And all uncertain whither he should turn, 
Chafed like a wild beast in the toils ; but soon 
Discovering traces of the fugitives. 
Their steps he followed to the Maid's retreat. 
Easily may the sequel be divined — 
Walks to and fro — watchings at every hour ; 
And the fair Captive, who, whene'er she may, 
Is busy at her casement as the swallow 
fluttering its pinions, almost within reach. 
About the pendent nest, did thus espy 
Her Lover ! — ^thence a stolen interview. 
Accomplished under friendly shade of night. 

I pass the raptures of the pair ; — such theme 
Is, by innumerable poets, touched 
In more delightful verse than skill of mine 
Could fashion ; chiefly by that darling bard 
Who told of Juliet and her Eomeo, 
And of the lark's note heard before its time. 
And of the streaks that laced the severing clouds 
In the unrelenting east. — Through all her courts 
The vacant city slept ; the busy winds. 
That keep no certain intervals of rest, 
Moved not ; meanwhile the galaxy displayed 
Her fires, that like mysterious pulses beat 
Aloft ; — momentous but uneasy bliss ! 
To their full hearts the universe seemed hung 
On that brief meeting's slender filament ! 

They parted ; and the generous Vaudracour 
E/cached speedily the native threshold, bent 
On making (so the Lovers had agreed) 
A sacrifice of birthright to attain 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 289 

A final portion from his father's hand ; 

"Which granted, Bride and Bridegroom then would 

flee 
To some remote and solitary place, 
Shady as night, and beautiful as heaven, 
Where they may live, with no one to behold 
Their happiness, or to disturb their love. 
But now of this no whisper ; not the less. 
If ever an obtrusive word were dropped 
Touching the matter of his passion, still. 
In his stern father's hearing, Vaudracour 
Persisted openly that death alone 
Should abrogate his human privilege 
Divine, of swearing everlasting truth, 
Upon the altar, to the Maid he loved. 

" Tou shall be baffled in your mad intent 
If there be justice in the court of Prance," 
Muttered the Pather. — Prom these words the Youth 
Conceived a terror ; and, by night or day, 
Stirred nowhere without weapons, that full soon 
Pound dreadful provocation : for at night 
When to his chamber he retired, attempt 
Was made to seize him by three armed men. 
Acting, in furtherance of the father's will. 
Under a private signet of the State. 
One the rash Youth's ungovernable hand 
Slew, and as quickly to a second gave 
A perilous wound — he shuddered to behold 
The breathless corse ; then peacefully resigned 
His person to the law, was lodged in prison. 
And wore the fetters of a criminal. 

Have you observed a tuft of winged seed 
That, from the dandelion's naked stalk, 

VOL. I. u 



290 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Mounted aloft, is suffered not to use 

Its natural gifts for purposes of rest, 

Driven loj tlie autumnal whirlwind to and fro 

Through the wide element ? or have you marked 

The heavier substance of a leaf-clad bough, 

"Within the vortex of a foaming flood, 

Tormented ? by such aid you may conceive 

The perturbation that ensued ; — ah, no ! 

Desperate the Maid — the Youth is stained with blood ; 

TJnmatchable on earth is their disquiet ! 

Tet as the troubled seed and tortured bough 

Is Man, subjected to despotic sway. 

Eor him, by private influence with the Court, 
Was pardon gained, and liberty procured ; 
But not without exaction of a pledge. 
Which liberty and love dispersed in air. 
He flew to her from whom they would divide him — 
He clove to her who could not give him peace — 
Tea, his first word of greeting was, — " All right 
Is gone from me ; my lately-towering hopes. 
To the least fibre of their lowest root, 
Are withered ; thou no longer canst be mine, 
I thine — the conscience-stricken must not woo 
The unruffled Innocent, — I see thy face. 
Behold thee, and my misery is complete !" 

" One, are we not ?" exclaimed the Maiden — " One, 
Tor innocence and youth, for weal and woe ?" 
Then with the father's name she coupled words 
Of vehement indignation ; but the Youth 
Checked her with filial meekness ; for no thought 
Uncharitable crossed his mind, no sense 
Of hasty anger rising in the eclipse 
Of true domestic loyalty, did e'er 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 291 

Eind place within his bosom. — Once again 

The persevering wedge of tyranny 

Achieved their separation : and once more 

Were they united, — to be yet again 

Disparted, pitiable lot ! But here 

A portion of the tale may well be left 

In silence, though my memory could add 

Much how the Youth, in scanty space of time, 

Was traversed from without ; much, too, of thoughts 

That occupied his days in solitude 

Under privation and restraint ; and what, 

Through dark and shapeless fear of things to come, 

And what, through strong compunction for the past, 

He suffered — breaking down in heart and mind ! 

Doomed to a third and last captivity. 
His freedom he recovered on the eve 
Of Julia's travail. When the babe was born. 
Its presence tempted him to cherish schemes 
Of future happiness. " You shall return, 
Julia," said he, " and to your father's house 
Gro with the child. — You have been wretched ; yet 
The silver shower, whose reckless burthen weighs 
Too heavily upon the lily's head. 
Oft leaves a saving moisture at its root. 
Malice, beholding you, will melt away. 
Go ! — 'tis a town where both of us were born ; 
None will reproach you, for our truth is known ; 
And if, amid those once-bright bowers, our fate 
Eemain unpitied, pity is not in man. 
With ornaments — the prettiest, nature yields 
Or art can fashion, shall you deck our boy. 
And feed his countenance with your own sweet looks 
Till no one can resist him. — !N'ow, even now, 

tt2 



292 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

I see him sporting on the sunny lawn ; 
My father from the window sees him too ; 
Startled, as if some new-created thing 
Enriched the earth, or Faery of the woods 
Bounded before him; — but the unweeting Child 
Shall by his beauty win his grandsire's heart 
So that it shall be softened, and our loves 
End happily, as they began !" 

These gleams 
Appeared but seldom ; oftener was he seen 
Propping a pale and melancholy face 
Upon the Mother's bosom ; resting thus 
His head upon one breast, while from the other 
The Babe was drawing in its quiet food. 
— That pillow is no longer to be thine, 
Eond Youth ! that mournful solace now must pass 
Into the list of things that cannot be ! 
Unwedded Julia, terror-smitten, hears 
The sentence, by her mother's lip pronounced. 
That dooms her to a convent. — Who shall tell. 
Who dares report, the tidings to the lord 
Of her affections ? so they blindly asked 
Who knew not to what quiet depths a weight 
Of agony had pressed the Sufferer down : 
The word, by others dreaded, he can hear 
Composed and silent, without visible sign 
Of even the least emotion. Noting this, 
When the impatient object of his love 
Upbraided him with slackness, he returned 
No answer, only took the mother's hand 
And kissed it ; seemingly devoid of pain, 
Or care, that what so tenderly he pressed. 
Was a dependant on the obdurate heart 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 293 

Of one who came to disunite their lives 
Tor ever — sad alternative ! preferred, 
By the unbending Parents of the Maid, 
To secret 'spousals meanly disavowed. 
—So be it ! 

In the city he remained 
A season after Julia had withdrawn 
To those religious walls. He, too, departs — 
"Who with him ? — even the senseless Little-one. 
With that sole charge he passed the city-gates, 
For the last time, attendant by the side 
Of a close chair, a litter, or sedan, 
In which the Babe was carried. To a hill, 
That rose a brief league distant from the town. 
The dwellers in that house where he had lodged 
Accompanied his steps, by anxious love 
Impelled ; — they parted from him there, and stood 
Watching below till he had disappeared 
On the hill top. His eyes he scarcely took. 
Throughout that journey, from the vehicle 
(Slow-moving ark of all his hopes !) that veiled 
The tender infant : and, at every inn, 
And under every hospitable tree 
At which the bearers halted or reposed, 
Laid him with timid care upon his knees. 
And looked, as mothers ne'er were known to look, 
Upon the nursling which his arms embraced. 
This was the manner in which Vaudracour 
Departed with his infant ; and thus reached 
His father's house, where to the innocent child 
Admittance was denied. The young man spake 
No word of indignation or reproof, 
But of his father begged, a last request, 



294 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

That a retreat miglit be assigned to him 

Where in forgotten quiet he might dwell, 

With such allowance as his wants required ; 

For wishes he had none. To a lodge that stood 

Deep in a forest, with leave given, at the age 

Of four-and-twentj summers he withdrew ; 

And thither took with him his motherless Babe, 

And one domestic for their common needs, 

An aged woman. It consoled him here 

To attend upon the orphan, and perform 

Obsequious service to the precious child, 

Which, after a short time, by some mistake 

Or indiscretion of the Father, died. — 

The Tale I follow to its last recess 

Of suffering or of peace, I know not which : 

Theirs be the blame who caused the woe, not mine ! 

From this time forth he never shared a smile 
With mortal creature. An Inhabitant 
Of that same town, in which the pair had left 
So lively a remembrance of their griefs. 
By chance of business, coming within reach 
Of his retirement, to the forest lodge 
Repaired, but only found the matron there, 
Who told him that his pains were thrown away, 
For that her Master never uttered word 
To living thing — not even to her. — Behold ! 
While they were speaking, Vaudracour approached ; 
But, seeing some one near, as on the latch 
Of the garden- gate his hand was laid, he shrunk — 
And, like a shadow, glided out of view. 
Shocked at his savage aspect, from the place 
The visitor retired. 

Thus lived the Youth 



THE IDIOT BOY. 295 

Cut off from all intelligence with man, 

And shunning even the light of common day ; 

Nor could the voice of Freedom, which through France 

Full speedily resounded, public hope. 

Or personal memory of his own deep wrongs, 

Eouse him : but in those solitary shades 

His days he wasted, an imbecile mind ! 

1805. 



XXXI. 

THE IDIOT BOY. 



[The last stanza — "The Cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo, And 
the sun did shine so cold " — was the foundation of the whole. 
The words were reported to me by my dear friend, Thomas 
Poole ; but I have since heard the same repeated of other 
Idiots. Let me add that this long poem was composed in the 
groves of Alfoxden, almost extempore ; not a word, I believe, 
being corrected, though one stanza was omitted. I mention 
this in gratitude to those happy moments, for, in truth, I 
never wrote anything with so much glee.] 

'Tis eight o'clock,— a clear March night. 
The moon is up, — the sky is blue. 
The owlet, in the moonlight air. 
Shouts from nobody knows where ; 
He lengthens out his lonely shout. 
Halloo ! halloo ! a long halloo ! 

— Why bustle thus about your door, 
What means this bustle, Betty Foy ? 
Why are you in this mighty fret ? 
And why on horseback have you set 
Him whom you love, your Idiot Boy ? 



296 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Scarcely a soul is out of bed ; 
Grood Betty, put him down again ; 
His lips with joy they burr at you ; 
But, Betty ! what has he to do 
With stirrup, saddle, or with rein ? 

But Betty's bent on her intent ; 
For her good neighbour, Susan Gale, 
Old Susan, she who dwells alone. 
Is sick, and makes a piteous moan, 
As if her very life would fail. 

There's not a house within a mile, 
'No hand to help them in distress ; 
Old Susan lies a-bed in pain. 
And sorely puzzled are the twain, 
For what she ails they cannot guess. 

And Betty's husband's at the wood, 
"Where by the week he doth abide, 
A woodman in the distant vale ; 
There's none to help poor Susan Grale ; 
What must be done ? what will betide ? 

And Betty from the lane has fetched 
Her Pony, that is mild and good ; 
Whether he be in joy or pain, 
Feeding at will along the lane, 
Or bringing faggots from the wood. 

And he is all in travelling trim, — 
And, by the moonlight, Betty Foy 
Has on the well-girt saddle set 
(The like was never heard of yet) 
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. 



THE IDIOT BOY. 297 

And he must post without delaj 
Across the bridge and through the dale, 
And by the church, and o'er the down. 
To bring a Doctor from the town, 
Or she will die, old Susan Grale. 

There is no need of boot or spur, 
There is no need of whip or wand ; 
JFor Johnnj has his hollj-bough, 
And with a hurly-burly now 
He shakes the green bough in his hand. 

And Betty o'er and o'er has told 
The Boy, who is her best delight, 
Both what to follow, what to shun, 
"What do, and what to leave undone. 
How turn to left, and how to right. 

And Betty's most especial charge, 
Was, " Johnny ! Johnny ! mind that you 
Come home again, nor stop at all, — 
Come home again, whate'er befal, 
My Johnny, do, I pray you do." 

To this did Johnny answer make, 
Both with his head and with his hand, 
And proudly shook the bridle too ; 
And then ! his words were not a few. 
Which Betty well could understand. 

And now that Johnny is just going. 
Though Betty's in a mighty flurry, 
She gently pats the Pony's side, 
On which her Idiot Boy must ride. 
And seems no longer in a hurry. 



298 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

But when the Pony moved his legs, 
Oh ! then for the poor Idiot Boy ! 
For joy he cannot hold the bridle, 
For joy his head and heels are idle, 
He's idle all for very joy. 

And while the Pony moves his legs, 
In Johnny's left hand you may see 
The green bough motionless and dead : 
The Moon that shines above his head 
Is not more still and mute than he. 

His heart it was so full of glee. 
That till full fifty yards were gone, 
He quite forgot his holly whip, 
And all his skill in horsemanship : 
Oh ! happy, happy, happy John. 

And while the Mother, at the door. 
Stands fixed, her face with joy overflows, 
Proud of herself, and proud of him, 
She sees him in his travelling trim, 
How quietly her Johnny goes. 

The silence of her Idiot Boy, 
What hopes it sends to Betty's heart ! 
He's at the guide-post — he turns right ; 
She watches till he's out of sight. 
And Betty will not then depart. 

Burr, burr — now Johnny's lips they burr. 
As loud as any mill, or near it ; 
Meek as a lamb the Pony moves. 
And Johnny makes the noise he loves. 
And Betty listens, glad to hear it. 



THE IDIOT BOY. 299 

Away she hies to Susan Gale : 
Her Messenger's in merry tune ; 
The owlets hoot, the owlets curr, 
And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr, 
As on he goes beneath the moon. 

His steed and he right well agree ; 
For of this Pony there's a rumour. 
That, should he lose his eyes and ears, 
And should he live a thousand years, 
He never will be out of humour. 

But then he is a horse that thinks ! 
And when he thinks, his pace is slack ; 
Now, though he knows poor Johnny well, 
Yet, for his life, he cannot tell 
"What he has got upon his back. 

So through the moonlight lanes they go. 
And far into the moonlight dale. 
And by the church, and o'er the down. 
To bring a Doctor from the town, 
To comfort poor old Susan Gale. 

And Eetty, now at Susan's side, 
Is in the middle of her story, 
What speedy help her Boy will bring, 
With many a most diverting thing. 
Of Johnny's wit, and Johnny's glory. 

And Betty, still at Susan's side. 
By this time is not quite so flurried : 
Demure with porringer and plate 
She sits, as if in Susan's fate 
Her life and soul were buried. 



300 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

But Bettj, poor good woman ! she, 
You plainlj in her face may read it, 
Could lend out of that moment's store 
Five years of happiness or more 
To any that might need it. 

But yet I guess that now and then 
"With Betty all was not so well ; 
And to the road she turns her ears, 
And thence full many a sound she hears, 
Which she to Susan will not tell. 

Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans ; 
"As sure as there's a moon in heaven," 
Cries Betty, " he'll be back again ; 
They'll both be here — 'tis almost ten — 
Both will be here before eleven." 

Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans ; 
The clock gives warning for eleven ; 
'Tis on the stroke — " He must be near," 
Quoth Betty, " and will soon be here. 
As sure as there's a moon in heaven." 

The clock is on the stroke of twelve, 
And Johnny is not yet in sight : 
— The Moon's in heaven, as Betty sees. 
But Betty is not quite at ease ; 
And Susan has a dreadful night. 

And Betty, half an hour ago. 
On Johnny vile reflections cast : 
" A little idle sauntering Thing !" 
With other names, an endless string ; 
But now that time is gone and past. 



THE IDIOT BOY. 301 

And Betty's drooping at tlie heart, 
That happy time all past and gone, 
" How can it be he is so late ? 
The Doctor, he has made him wait ; 
Susan! they'll both be here anon." 

And Susan's growing worse and worse, 
And Betty's in a sad quandary ; 
And then there's nobody to say 
If she must go, or she must stay ! 
— She's in a sad quandary. 

The clock is on the stroke of one ; 
But neither Doctor nor his Gruide 
Appears along the moonlight road ; 
There's neither horse nor man abroad, 
And Betty's still at Susan's side. 

And Susan now begins to fear 

Of sad mischances not a few. 

That Johnny may perhaps be drowned ; 

Or lost, perhaps, and never found ; 

Which they must both for ever rue. 

She prefaced half a hint of this 
With, " God forbid it should be true !" 
At the first word that Susan said 
Cried Betty, rising from the bed, 
" Susan, I'd gladly stay with you. 

I must be gone, I must away : 
Consider, Johnny's but half-wise; 
Susan, we must take care of him, 
If he is hurt in life or limb " — 
" Oh God forbid!" poor Susan cries. 



302 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

^' What can I do ?" says Eetty, going, 
" What can I do to ease your pain ? 
Grood Susan tell me, and I'll stay ; 
I fear you're in a dreadful way, 
Eut I shall soon be back again." 

" IN'ay, Betty, go ! good Betty, go ! 
There's nothing that can ease my pain." 
Then oiF she hies ; but with a prayer 
That God poor Susan's life would spare, 
Till she comes back again. 

So, through the moonlight lane she goes. 
And far into the moonlight dale ; 
And how she ran, and how she walked. 
And all that to herself she talked, 
Would surely be a tedious tale. 

In high and low, above, below, 
In great and small, in round and square. 
In tree and tower was Johnny seen, 
In bush and brake, in black and green ; 
'Twas Johnny, Johnny, every where. 

And while she crossed the bridge, there came 
A thought with which her heart is sore — 
Johnny perhaps his horse forsook, 
To hunt the moon within the brook, 
And never will be heard of more. 

l^ow is she high upon the down. 
Alone amid a prospect wide ; 
There's neither Johnny nor his Horse 
Among the fern or in the gorse ; 
There's neither Doctor nor his Guide. 



THE IDIOT BOY. 303 

" Oh saints ! what is become of him ? 
Perhaps he's clinibfed into an oak, 
Where he will stay till he is dead ; 
Or, sadly he has been misled, 
And joined the wandering gipsy-folk. 

Or him that wicked Pony's carried 
To the dark cave, the goblin's hall ; 
Or in the castle he's pursuing 
Among the ghosts his own undoing ; 
Or playing with the waterfall." 

At poor old Susan then she railed, 
"While to the town she posts away ; 
" If Susan had not been so ill, 
Alas ! I should have had him still. 
My Johnny, till my dying day." 

Poor Betty, in this sad distemper, 
The Doctor's self could hardly spare : 
Unworthy things she talked, and wild ; 
Even he, of cattle the most mild. 
The Pony had his share. 

But now she's fairly in the town. 
And to the Doctor's door she hies ; 
'Tis silence all on every side ; 
The town so long, the town so wide, 
Is silent as the skies. 

And now she's at the Doctor's door. 
She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap ; 
The Doctor at the casement shows 
His glimmering eyes that peep and doze ! 
And one hand rubs his old mght-cap. 



304 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

" Oil Doctor ! Doctor ! wliere's my Jolinny ?" 
" I'm here, what is't you want with me ?" 
" Oh Sir ! you know I'm Betty Eoy, 
And I have lost my poor dear Boy, 
You know him — ^him you often see ; 

He's not so wise as some folks be :" 

" The devil take his wisdom !" said 

The Doctor, looking somewhat grim, 

" What, Woman ! should I know of him ?" 

And, grumbling, he went back to bed ! 

" O woe is me ! woe is me ! 
Here will I die ; here will I die ; 
I thought to find my lost one here. 
But he is neither far nor near. 
Oh ! what a wretched Mother I !" 

She stops, she stands, she looks about ; 

Which way to turn she cannot tell. 

Poor Betty ! it would ease her pain 

If she had heart to knock again ; 

— The clock strikes three — a dismal knell ! 

Then up along the town she hies. 

No wonder if her senses fail ; 

This piteous news so much it shocked her. 

She quite forgot to send the Doctor, 

To comfort poor old Susan Grale. 

And now she's high upon the down, 
And she can see a mile of road : 
" O cruel ! I'm almost threescore ; 
Such night as this was ne'er before, 
There's not a single soul abroad." 



THE IDIOT BOY. 305 

She listens, but she cannot hear 
The foot of horse, the voice of man ; 
The streams with softest sound are flowing. 
The grass you almost hear it growing, 
Tou hear it now, if e'er you can. 

The owlets through the long blue night 
Are shouting to each other still : 
Fond lovers ! yet not quite hob nob, 
They lengthen out the tremulous sob, 
That echoes far from hill to hill. 

Poor Betty now has lost all hope, 
Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin, 
A green-grown pond she just has past. 
And from the brink she hurries fast. 
Lest she should drown herself therein. 

And now she sits her down and weeps ; 
Such tears she never shed before ; 
" Oh dear, dear Pony ! my sweet joy ! 
Oh carry back my Idiot Boy ! 
And we will ne'er o'erload thee more." 

A thought is come into her head : 
The Pony he is mild and good. 
And we have always used him well ; 
Perhaps he's gone along the dell, 
And carried Johnny to the wood. 

Then up sbe springs as if on wings ; 
She thinks no more of deadly sin ; 
If Betty fifty ponds should see. 
The last of all her thoughts would be 
To drown berself therein. 



306 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

O Eeader ! now tliat I miglit tell 
What Johnny and his Horse are doing 
"What they've been doing all this time, 
Oh could I put it into rhyme, 
A most delightful tale pursuing ! 

Perhaps, and no unlikely thought ! 
He with his Pony now doth roam 
The cliffs and peaks so high that are, 
To lay his hands upon a star. 
And in his pocket bring it home. 

Perhaps he's turned himself about, 
His face unto his horse's tail, 
And, still and mute, in wonder lost. 
All silent as a horseman-ghost. 
He travels slowly down the vale. 

And now, perhaps, is hunting sheep, 
A fierce and dreadful hunter he ; 
Yon valley, now so trim and green. 
In five months' time, should he be seen, 
A desert wilderness will be ! 

Perhaps, with head and heels on fire, 
And like the very soul of evil. 
He's galloping away, away. 
And so will gallop on for aye. 
The bane of all that dread the devil ! 

I to the Muses have been bound 

These fourteen years, by strong indentures : 

O gentle Muses 1 let me tell 

Put half of what to him befel ; 

He surely met with strange adventures. 



THE IDIOT BOY. 307 

gentle Muses ! is this kind ? 
Why will ye thus my suit repel ? 
Why of your further aid bereave me ? 
And can ye thus unfriended leave me 
Te Muses ! whom I love so well ? 

"Who's yon, that, near the waterfall, 
Which thunders down with headlong force, 
Eeneath the moon, yet shining fair. 
As careless as if nothing were. 
Sits upright on a feeding horse ? 

Unto his horse — there feeding free, 
He seems, I think, the rein to give ; 
Of moon or stars he takes no heed ; 
Of such we in romances read : 
— 'Tis Johnny ! Johnny ! as I live. 

And that's the very Pony, too ! 
Where is she, where is Betty Foy ? 
She hardly can sustain her fears ; 
The roaring waterfall she hears. 
And cannot find her Idiot Boy. 

Tour Pony's worth his weight in gold: 
Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy ! 
She's coming from among the trees, 
And now all full in view she sees 
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. 

And Betty sees the Pony too ; 

Why stand you thus, good Betty 'Foj ? 

It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost, 

'Tis he whom you so long have lost. 

He whom you love, your Idiot Boy. 

X 2 



308 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

She looks again — her arms are up — 
She screams — she cannot move for joy ; 
She darts, as with a torrent's force, 
She almost has o'erturned the Horse, 
And fast she holds her Idiot Boj. 

And Johnny burrs, and laughs aloud ; 
Whether in cunning or in joy 
I cannot tell ; but while he laughs, 
Bettj a drunken pleasure quaffs 
To hear again her Idiot Boy. 

And now she's at the Pony's tail, 
And now is at the Pony's head, — 
On that side now, and now on this ; 
And, almost stifled with her bliss, 
A few sad tears does Betty shed. ^ 

She kisses o'er and o'er again 
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy ; 
She's happy here, is happy there, 
She is uneasy every where ; 
Her limbs are all alive with joy. 

She pats the Pony, where or when 
She knows not, happy Betty Poy ! 
The little Pony glad may be. 
But he is milder far than she. 
You hardly can perceive his joy. 

" Oh ! Johnny, never mind the Doctor ; 
You've done your best, and that is all :" 
She took the reins, when this was said. 
And gently turned the Pony's head 
Prom the loud waterfall. 



THE IDIOT BOY. 309 

By this the stars were almost gone, 
The moon was setting on the hill, 
So pale you scarcely looked at her : 
The little birds began to stir, 
Though yet their tongues were still. 

The Pony, Betty, and her Boy, 
Wind slowly through the woody dale ; 
And who is she, betimes abroad, 
That hobbles up the steep rough road ? 
"Who is it, but old Susan Gale ? 

Long time lay Susan lost in thought ; 
And many dreadful fears beset her, 
Both for her Messenger and Nurse ; 
And, as her mind grew worse and worse, 
Her body — it grew better. 

She turned, she tossed herself in bed. 
On all sides doubts and terrors met her ; 
Point after point did she discuss ; 
And, while her mind was fighting thus, 
Her body still grew better. 

" Alas ! what is become of them ? 
These fears can never be endured; 
I'll to the wood." — The word scarce said, 
Did Susan rise up from her bed, 
As if by magic cured. 

Away she goes up hill and down. 

And to the wood at length is come ; 

She spies her Priends, she shouts a greeting ; 

Oh me ! it is a merry meeting 

As ever was in Christendom. 



310 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

The owls have hardly sung their last, 
"While our four travellers homeward wend ; 
The owls have hooted all night long, 
And with the owls began my song. 
And with the owls must end. 

For while they all were travelling home, 
Cried Betty, " Tell us, Johnny, do, 
Where all this long night you have been, 
What you have heard, what you have seen : 
And, Johnny, mind you tell us true." 

Now Johnny all night long had heard 
The owls in tuneful concert strive ; 
'No doubt too he the moon had seen ; 
For in the moonlight he had been 
From eight o'clock till five. 

And thus, to Betty's question, he 

Made answer, like a traveller bold, 

(His very words I give to you,) 

" The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo. 

And the sun did shine so cold !" 

— Thus answered Johnny in his glory. 

And that was all his travel's story. 



1798. 



311 



XXXII. 

MICHAEL. 

A PASTORAL POEM. 

[Writteit at Town-end, Grasmere, about the same time as *^The 
Brothers." The Sheepfold, on which so much of the poem 
turns, remains, or rather the ruins of it. The character and 
circumstances of Luke were taken from a family to whom had 
belonged, many years before, the house we lived in at Town- 
end, along with some fields and woodlands on the eastern 
shore of Grasmere. The name of the Evening Star was not in 
fact given to this house, but to another on the same side of the 
valley, more to the north.] 

Ir from tlie public way you turn your steps 
Up the tumu-ltuous brook of Green-bead Grbyll, 
You will suppose tbat witb an upright path 
Your feet must struggle ; in such bold ascent 
The pastoral mountains front you, face to face. 
But, courage ! for around that boisterous brook 
The mountains have all opened out themselves, 
And made a hidden valley of their own. 
'No habitation can be seen ; but they 
"Who journey thither find themselves alone 
"With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites 
That overhead are sailing in the sky. 
It is in truth an utter solitude ; 
!N^or should I have made mention of this Dell 
But for one object which you might pass by, 
Might see and notice not. Beside the brook 
Appears a straggling heap of unhewn stones ! 
And to that simple object appertains 



312 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

A story — unenriched with strange events, 

Yet not unfit, I deem, for tlie fireside, 

Or for the summer shade. It was the first 

Of those domestic tales that spake to me 

Of shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men 

Whom I already loved ; not verily 

Tor their own sakes, but for the fields and hills 

Where was their occupation and abode. 

And hence this Tale, while I was yet a Boy 

Careless of books, yet having felt the power 

Of Mature, by the gentle agency 

Of natural objects, led me on to feel 

Tor passions that were not my own, and think 

(At random and imperfectly indeed) 

On man, the heart of man, and human life. 

Therefore, although it be a history 

Homely and rude, I will relate the same 

Por the delight of a few natural hearts ; 

And, with yet fonder feeling, for the sake 

Of youthful Poets, who among these hills 

Will be my second self when I am gone. 

Upon the forest-side in G-rasmere Vale 
There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name ; 
An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb. 
His bodily frame had been from youth to age 
Of an unusual strength : his mind was keen, 
Intense, and frugal, apt for all afiairs, 
And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt 
And watchful more than ordinary men. 
Hence had he learned the meaning of all winds, 
Of blasts of every tone ; and, oftentimes. 
When others heeded not. He heard the South 
Make subterraneous music, like the noise 



MICHAEL. 313 

Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills. 

The Shepherd, at such warning, of his flock 

Bethought him, and he to himself would say, 

' The winds are now devising work for me ! ' 

And, truly, at all times, the storm, that drives 

The traveller to a shelter, summoned him 

Up to the mountains : he had been alone 

Amid the heart of many thousand mists. 

That came to him, and left him, on the heights. 

So lived he till his eightieth year was past. 

And grossly that man errs, who should suppose 

That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks, 

Were things indifferent to the Shepherd's thoughts. 

Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed 

The common air ; hills, which with vigorous step 

He had so often climbed ; which had impressed 

So many incidents upon his mind 

Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear ; 

Which, like a book, preserved the memory 

Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved, 

Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts 

The certainty of honourable gain ; 

Those fields, those hills — what could they less ? had laid 

Strong hold on his affections, were to him 

A pleasurable feeling of blind love. 

The pleasure which there is in life itself. 

His days had not been passed in singleness. 
His Helpmate was a comely matron, old — 
Though younger than himself full twenty years. 
She was a woman of a stirring life. 
Whose heart was in her house : two wheels she had 
Of antique form ; this large, for spinning wool ; 
That small, for flax 5 and if one wheel had rest 



314 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

It was because the other was at work. 

The Pair had but one inmate in their house, 

An only Child, who had been born to them 

"When Michael, telling o'er his years, began 

To deem that he was old, — in shepherd's phrase, 

"With one foot in the grave. This only Son, 

With two brave sheep-dogs tried in many a storm. 

The one of an inestimable worth, 

Made all their household. I may truly say, 

That they were as a proverb in the vale 

For endless industry. When day was gone. 

And from their occupations out of doors 

The Son and Father were come home, even then. 

Their labour did not cease ; unless when all 

Turned to the cleanly supper-board, and there. 

Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk. 

Sat round the basket piled with oaten cakes. 

And their plain home-made cheese. Tet when the meal 

Was ended, Luke (for so the Son was named) 

And his old Father both betook themselves 

To such convenient work as might employ 

Their hands by the fire-side ; perhaps to card 

Wool for the Housewife's spindle, or repair 

Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe, 

Or other implement of house or field. 

Down from the ceiling, by the chimney's edge. 
That in our ancient uncouth country style 
With huge and black projection overbrowed 
Large space beneath, as duly as the light 
Of day grew dim the Housewife hung a lamp ; 
An aged utensil, which had performed 
Service beyond all others of its kind. 
Early at evening did it burn — and late, 



MICHAEL. 315 

Surviving comrade of uncounted hours, 

Whicli, going by from year to year, liad found. 

And left, the couple neither gay perhaps 

Nor cheerful, yet with objects and with hopes. 

Living a life of eager industry. 

And now, when Luke had reached his eighteenth year, 

There by the light of this old lamp they sate, 

Father and Son, while far into the night 

The Housewife plied her own peculiar work. 

Making the cottage through the silent hours 

Murmur as with the sound of summer flies. 

This light was famous in its neighbourhood. 

And was a public symbol of the life 

That thrifty Pair had lived. For, as it chanced. 

Their cottage on a plot of rising ground 

Stood single, with large prospect, north and south, 

High into Easedale, up to Dunmail-Eaise, 

And westward to the village near the lake ; 

And from this constant light, so regular 

And so far seen, the House itself, by all 

"Who dwelt within the limits of the vale. 

Both old and young, was named The Evei^iko- Stae. 

Thus living on through such a length of years. 
The Shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs 
Have loved his Helpmate ; but to Michael's heart 
This son of his old age was yet more dear — 
Less from instinctive tenderness, the same 
Eond spirit that blindly works in the blood of all — 
Than that a child, more than all other gifts 
That earth can offer to declining man. 
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts, 
And stirrings of inquietude, when they 
By tendency of nature needs must fail. 



316 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Exceeding was the love lie bare to him, 
His heart and his heart's joy ! Tor oftentimes 
Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms, 
Had done him female service, not alone 
For pastime and delight, as is the use 
Of fathers, but with patient mind enforced 
To acts of tenderness ; and he had rocked 
His cradle, as with a woman's gentle hand. 

And, in a later time, ere yet the Boy 
Had put on boy's attire, did Michael love, 
Albeit of a stern unbending mind. 
To have the Young-one in his sight, when he 
Wrought in the field, or on his shepherd's stool 
Sate with a fettered sheep before him stretched 
Under the large old oak, that near his door 
Stood single, and, from matchless depth of shade. 
Chosen for the Shearer's covert from the sun, 
Thence in our rustic dialect was called 
The CLiPPiNa Tbee *, a name which yet it bears. 
There, while they two were sitting in the shade, 
"With others round them, earnest all and blithe, 
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks 
Of fond correction and reproof bestowed 
Upon the Child, if he disturbed the sheep 
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts 
Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears. 

And when by Heaven's good grace the boy grew up 
A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek 
Two steady roses that were five years old ; 
Then Michael from a winter coppice cut 
With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped 

* Clipping is the word used iii the North of England for shearing. 



MICHAEL. 317 

With iron, making it througliout in all 

Due requisites a perfect shepherd's staiF, 

And gave it to the Boy ; wherewith equipt 

He as a watchman oftentimes was placed 

At gate or gap, to stem or turn the flock ; 

And, to his office prematurely called, 

There stood the urchin, as you will divine. 

Something between a hindrance and a help ; 

And for this cause not always, I believe, 

Eeceiving from his Father hire of praise ; 

Though nought was left undone which staff, or voice, 

Or looks, or threatening gestures, could perform. 

But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand 
Against the mountain blasts ; and to the heights, 
Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways. 
He with his Father daily went, and they 
Were as companions, why should I relate 
That objects which the Shepherd loved before 
Were dearer now ? that from the Boy there came 
Feelings and emanations — things which were 
Light to the sun and music to the wind ; 
And that the old Man's heart seemed born again ? 

Thus in his Father's sight the Boy grew up : 
And now, when he had reached his eighteenth year, 
He was his comfort and his daily hope. 

While in this sort the simple household lived 
From day to day, to Michael's ear there came 
Distressful tidings. Long before the time 
Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound 
In surety for his brother's son, a man 
Of an industrious life, and ample means ; 
But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly 
Had prest upon him ; and old Michael now 



318 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture, 
A grievous penalty, but little less 
Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim, 
At the first hearing, for a moment took 
More hope out of his life than he supposed 
That any old man ever could have lost. 
As soon as he had armed himself with strength 
To look his trouble in the face, it seemed 
The Shepherd's sole resource to sell at once 
A portion of his patrimonial fields. 
Such was his first resolve ; he thought again. 
And his heart failed him. " Isabel," said he, 
Two evenings after he had heard the news, 
" I have been toiling more than seventy years, 
And in the open sunshine of God's love 
Have we all lived ; yet if these fields of ours 
Should pass into a stranger's hand, I think 
That I could not lie quiet in my grave. 
Our lot is a hard lot ; the sun himself 
Has scarcely been more diligent than I ; 
And I have lived to be a fool at last 
To my own family. An evil man 
That was, and made an evil choice, if he 
"Were false to us ; and if he were not false. 
There are ten thousand to whom loss like this 
Had been no sorrow. I forgive him ; — but 
'Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus. 
When I began, my purpose was to speak 
Of remedies and of a cheerful hope. 
Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel ; the land 
Shall not go from us, and it shall be free ; 
He shall possess it, free as is the wind 
That passes over it. We have, thou know'st, 



MICHAEL. 319 

Another kinsman — he will be our friend 
In this distress. He is a prosperous man, 
Thriving in trade — and Luke to him shall go, 
And wifch his kinsman's help and his own thrift 
He quickly will repair this loss, and then 
He may return to us. If here he stay, 
"What can be done ? Where every one is poor, 
"What can be gained ?" 

At this the old Man paused, 
And Isabel sat silent, for her mind 
Was busy, looking back into past times. 
There's Eichard Bateman, thought she to herself, 
He w^as a parish-boy — at the church-door 
They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence 
And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours bought 
A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares ; 
And, with this basket on his arm, the lad 
Went up to London, found a master there, 
Who, out of many, chose the trusty boy 
To go and overlook his merchandise 
Beyond the seas ; where he grew wondrous rich. 
And left estates and monies to the poor. 
And, at his birth-place, built a chapel, floored 
With marble which he sent from foreign lands. 
These thoughts, and many others of like sort, 
Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel, 
And her face brightened. The old Man was glad. 
And thus resumed: — "Well, Isabel! this scheme 
These two days, has been meat and drink to me. 
Ear more than we have lost is left us yet. 
— We have enough — I wish indeed that I 
Were younger ; — but this hope is a good hope. 
—Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best 



320 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Buy for him more, and let us send him forth 

To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night : 

— If he could go, the Boy should go to-night." 

Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth 
With a light heart. The Housewife for five days 
"Was restless morn and night, and all day long 
"Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare 
Things needful for the journey of her son. 
But Isabel was glad when Sunday came 
To stop her in her work : for, when she lay 
By Michael's side, she through the last two nights 
Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep : 
And when they rose at morning she could see 
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon 
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves 
"Were sitting at the door, "Thou must not go : 
"We have no other Child but thee to lose, 
None to remember — do not go away, 
Por if thou leave thy Father he will die." 
The Youth made answer with a jocund voice ; 
And Isabel, when she had told her fears, 
Recovered heart. That evening her best fare 
Did she bring forth, and all together sat 
Like happy people round a Christmas fire. 

With daylight Isabel resumed her work ; 
And all the ensuing week the house appeared 
As cheerful as a grove in Spring : at length 
The expected letter from their kinsman came, 
With kind assurances that he would do 
His utmost for the welfare of the Boy ; 
To which, requests were added, that forthwith 
He might be sent to him. Ten times or more 
The letter was read over ; Isabel 



MICHAEL. 321 

"Went forth to show it to the neighbours round; 
Nor was there at that time on English land 
A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel 
Had to her house returned, the old Man said, 
" He shall depart to-morrow." To this word 
The Housewife answered, talking much of things 
"Which, if at such short notice he should go. 
Would surely be forgotten. But at length 
She gave consent, and Michael was at ease. 

'Near the tumultuous brook of Greenhead Ghjll, 
In that deep valley, Michael had designed 
To build a Sheep-fold ; and, before he heard 
The tidings of his melancholy loss, 
For this same purpose he had gathered up 
A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge 
Lay thrown together, ready for the work. 
With Luke that evening thitherward he walked : 
And soon as they had reached the place he stopped. 
And thus the old Man spake to him : — " My Son, 
To-morrow thou wilt leave me : with full heart 
I look upon thee, for thou art the same 
That wert a promise to me ere thy birth, 
And all thy life hast been my daily joy. 
I will relate to thee some little part 
Of our two histories ; 'twill do thee good 
When thou art from me, even if I should touch 

On things thou canst not know of.- After thou 

rirst cam'st into the world — as oft befals 
To new-born infants — thou didst sleep away 
Two days, and blessings from thy Father's tongue 
Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on, 
And still I loved thee with increasing love. 
Never to living ear came sweeter sounds 



322 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Than when I heard thee bj our own fire-side 

Pirst uttering, without words, a natural tune ; 

While thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy 

Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month followed month, 

And in the open fields my life was passed 

And on the mountains ; else I think that thou 

Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's knees. 

But we were playmates, Luke : among these hills, 

As well tbou knowest, in us the old and young 

Have played together, nor with me didst thou 

Lack any pleasure which a boy can know." 

Luke bad a manly heart ; but at these words 

He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped his hand. 

And said, '' Nay, do not take it so — I see 

That these are things of which I need not speak. 

— Even to the utmost I have been to thee 

A kind and a good Father : and herein 

I but repay a gift which I myself 

Eeceived at others' hands ; for, though now old 

Beyond the common life of man, I still 

Eemember them who loved me in my youth. 

Both of them sleep together : here they lived, 

As all their Forefathers had done ; and when 

At length their time was come, they were not loth 

To give their bodies to the family mould. 

I wished that thou shouldst live the life they lived : 

But, 'tis a long time to look back, my Son, 

And see so little gain from threescore years. 

These fields were burthened when they came to me ; 

Till I was forty years of age, not more 

Than half of my inheritance was mine. 

I toiled and toiled ; God blessed me in my work. 

And till these three weeks past the land was free. 



MICHAEL. 323 

— It looks as if it never could endure 
Another Master. Heaven forgive me^ Luke, 
If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good 
That thou should'st go." 

At this the old Man paused ; 
Then, pointing to the stones near which they stood, 
Thus, after a short silence, he resumed : 
" This was a work for us ; and now, my Son, 
It is a work for me. But, lay one stone — 
Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands. 
Nay, Boy, be of good hope ; — we both may live 
To see a better day. At eighty-four 
I still am strong and hale ; — do thou thy part ; 
I will do mine. — I will begin again 
"With many tasks that were resigned to thee : 
Up to the heights, and in among the storms, 
"Will I without thee go again, and do 
All works which I was wont to do alone. 
Before I knew thy face. — Heaven bless thee. Boy ! 
Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast 
"With many hopes ; it should be so — yes — yes — 
I knew that thou could' st never have a wish 
To leave me, Luke : thou hast been bound to me 
Only by links of love : when thou art gone, 
What will be left to us ! — But, I forget 
My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone, 
As I requested ; and hereafter, Luke, 
"When thou art gone away, should evil men 
Be thy companions, think of me, my Son, 
And of this moment ; hither tui^n thy thoughts, 
And God will strengthen thee : amid all fear 
And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou 
May'st bear in mind the life thy Fathers lived, 

y2 



324 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

"Who, being innocent, did for that cause 

Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee well — 

When thou return' st, thou in this place wilt see 

A work which is not here : a covenant 

'Twill be between us ; but, whatever fate 

Befal thee, I shall love thee to the last. 

And bear thy memory with me to the grave." 

The Shepherd ended here ; and Luke stooped down, 
And, as his Father had requested, laid 
The first stone of the Sheep-fold. At the sight 
The old Man's grief broke from him ; to his heart 
He pressed his Son, he kissed him and wept ; 
And to the house together they returned. 
— Hushed was that House in peace, or seeming peace. 
Ere the night fell : — with morrow's dawn the Boy 
Began his journey, and when he had reached 
The public way, he put on a bold face ; 
And all the neighbours, as he passed their doors. 
Came forth with wishes and with farewell prayers, 
That followed him till he was out of sight. 

A good report did from their Kinsman come, 
Of Luke and his well-doing : and the Boy 
Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous news. 
Which, as the Housewife phrased it, were throughout 
' The prettiest letters that were ever seen.' 
Both parents read them with rejoicing hearts. 
So, many months passed on : and once again 
The Shepherd went about his daily work 
With confident and cheerful thoughts ; and now 
Sometimes when he could find a leisure hour 
He to that valley took his way, and there 
Wrought at the Sheep-fold. Meantime Luke began 
To slacken in his duty ; and, at length, 



MICHAEL. 325 

He in tlie dissolute city gave himself 
To evil courses : ignominy and shame 
Fell on him, so that he was driven at last 
To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas. 

There is a comfort in the strength of love ; 
'Twill make a thing endurable, which else 
"Would overset the brain, or break the heart : 
I have conversed with more than one who well 
Remember the old Man, and what he was 
Tears after he had heard this heavy news. 
His bodily frame had been from youth to age 
Of an unusual strength. Among the rocks 
He went, and still looked up to sun and cloud, 
And listened to the wind ; and, as before, 
Performed all kinds of labour for his sheep, 
And for the land, his small inheritance. 
And to that hollow dell from time to time 
Did he repair, to build the Fold of which 
His flock had need. 'Tis not forgotten yet 
The pity which was then in every heart 
'For the old Man — and 'tis believed by all 
That many and many a day he thither went, 
And never lifted up a single stone. 

There, by the Sheep-fold, sometimes was he seen 
Sitting alone, or with his faithful Dog, 
Then old, beside him, lying at his feet. 
The length of full seven years, from time to time. 
He at the building of this Sheep-fold wrought. 
And left the work unfinished when he died. 
Three years, or little more, did Isabel 
Survive her Husband : at her death the estate 
"Was sold, and went into a stranger's hand. 
The Cottage which was named the ETENiNa Stae 



326 POEMS FOUNDED- ON THE AFFECTIONS, 

Is gone — tlie plouglishare has been through the ground 
On which it stood ; great changes have been wrought 
In all the neighbourhood : — yet the oak is left 
That grew beside their door ; and the remains 
Of the unfinished Sheep-fold may be seen 
Beside the boisterous brook of Grreen-head Grhyll. 

*1800. 



XXXIII. 

THE WIDOW ON WINDERMERE SIDE. 

[The facts recorded in this Poem were given me, and the character 
of the person described, by my friend the Rev. E. P. Gfraves, 
who has long officiated as curate at Bowness, to the great 
benefit of the parish and neighbourhood. The individual was 
well known to him. She died before these verses were com- 
posed. It is scarcely worth while to notice that the stanzas 
are written in the sonnet form, which was adopted when I 
thought the matter might be included in twenty-eight lines.] 



How beautiful when up a lofty height 

Honour ascends among the humblest poor, 

And feeling sinks as deep ! See there the door 

Of One, a "Widow, left beneath a weight 

Of blameless debt. On evil Fortune's spite 

She wasted no complaint, but strove to make 

A just repayment, both for conscience-sake 

And that herself and hers should stand upright 

In the world's eye. Her work when daylight failed 

Paused not, and through the depth of night she kept 

Such earnest vigils, that belief prevailed 

AVith some, the noble Creature never slept ; 

But, one by one, the hand of death assailed 

Her children from her inmost heart bewept. 



THE WIDOW ON WINDERMERE SIDE. 327 



The Mother mourned, nor ceased her tears to flow, 
Till a winter's noon-day placed her buried Son 
Before her eyes, last child of many gone — 
His raiment of angelic w^hite, and lo ! 
His very feet bright as the dazzling snow 
Which they are touching ; yea far brighter, even 
As that which comes, or seems to come, from heaven. 
Surpasses aught these elements can show. 
Much she rejoiced, trusting that from that hour 
Whate'er befel she could not grieve or pine ; 
But the Transfigured, in and out of season. 
Appeared, and spiritual presence gained a power 
Over material forms that mastered reason. 
Oh, gracious Heaven, in pity make her thine ! 



But why that prayer ? as if to her could come 

JSTo good but by the way that leads to bliss 

Through Death, — so judging we should judge amiss. 

Since reason failed want is her threatened doom, 

Yet frequent transports mitigate the gloom : 

!N'or of those maniacs is she one that kiss 

The air or laugh upon a precipice ; 

ISTo, passing through strange suff*erings toward the tomb 

She smiles as if a martyr's crown were won : 

Oft, when light breaks through clouds or waving trees. 

With outspread arms and fallen upon her knees 

The Mother hails in her descending Son 

An Angel, and in earthly ecstacies 

Her own angelic glory seems begun. 



328 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 



XXXI Y. 

THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOYE. 

[Weitten at Rydal Mount.] 

The subject of the following poem is from the Orlandus of the 
author's friend, Kenelm Henry Digby : and the liberty is taken 
of inscribing it to him as an acknowledgment, however un- 
worthy, of pleasure and instruction derived from his numerous 
and valuable writings, illustrative of the piety and chivalry of 
the olden time. 



You have heard ' a Spanish Ladj 

How she wooed an English man ; ' "^ 
Hear now of a fair Armenian, 
Daughter of the proud Soldan ; 
How she loved a Christian slave, and told her pain 
Bj word, look, deed, with hope that he might love 
again. 



" Pluck that rose, it moves my liking," 

Said she, lifting up her veil ; 
" Pluck it for me, gentle gardener, 
Ere it wither and grow pale." 
" Princess fair, I till the ground, but may not take 
Prom twig or bed an humbler flower, even for your 



* See, in Percy's Reliques, that fine old ballad, "The Spanish Lady's 
Love ; " from which Poem the form of stanza, as suitable to dialogue, is 
adopted. 



THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE. 329 

. III. 

" Grrieved am I, submissive Christian ! 

To behold thy captive state ; 
"Women, in your land, may pity 
(May they not ?) the unfortunate." 
" Yes, kind Lady ! otherwise man could not bear 
Life, which to every one that breathes is full of care." 



" Worse than idle is compassion 

If it end in tears and sighs ; 
Thee from bondage would I rescue 
And from vile indignities ; 
Nurtured, as thy mien bespeaks, in high degree. 
Look up — and help a hand that longs to set thee free." 



" Lady ! dread the wish, nor venture 

In such peril to engage ; 
Think how it would stir against you 
You.r most loving father's rage : 
Sad deliverance would it be, and yoked with shame, 
Should troubles overflow on her from whom it came." 



" Generous Frank ! the just in effort 

Are of inward peace secure : 
Hardships for the brave encountered, 
Even the feeblest may endure : 
If almighty grace through me thy chains unbind 
My father for slave's work may seek a slave in mind." 



330 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

VII. 

" Princess, at this burst of goodness, 

My long-frozen heart grows warm ! " 
" Yet you make all courage fruitless, 
Me to save from chance of harm : 
Leading such companion I that gilded dome, 
Yon minarets, would gladly leave for his worst home." 



" Feeling tunes your voice, fair Princess 

And your brow is free from scorn. 
Else these words would come like mockery, 
Sharper than the pointed thorn." 
" Whence the undeserved mistrust ? Too wide apart 
Our faith hath been, — O would that eyes could see 
the heart ! " 



" Tempt me not, I pray ; my doom is 

These base implements to wield ; 
Eusty lance, I ne'er shall grasp thee, 
Ne'er assoil my cob webbed shield ! 
Never see my native land, nor castle towers, 
Nor Her who thinking of me there counts widowed 
hours." 



^' Prisoner ! pardon youthful fancies ; 

"Wedded ? If you can^ say no ! 
Elessed is and be your consort ; 
Hopes I cherished — let them go ! 
Handmaid's privilege would leave my purpose free, 
Without another link to my felicity." 



THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE. 331 

XI. 

" "Wedded love with loyal Christians, 

Lady, is a inTsterv rare ; 
Body, heart, and soul in nnion, 
Make one being of a pair." 
" Humble love in me would look for no return, 
Soft as a guiding star that cheers, but cannot burn." 



" Gracious Allah ! by such title 
Do I dare to thank the Grod, 
Him who thus exalts thy spirit, 
Flower of an unchristian sod ! 
Or hast thou put off wings which thou in heaven dost 

wear? 
"What have I seen, and heard, or dreamt ? where am 
I ? where ? " 



Here broke off the dangerous converse : 

Less impassioned words might tell 
How the pair escaped together, 
Tears not wanting, nor a knell 
Of sorrow in her heart while through her father's door, 
And from her narrow world, she passed for evermore. 



But affections higher, holier, 

"Urged her steps ; she shrunk from trust 
In a sensual creed that trampled 
Woman's birthright into dust. 
Little be the wonder then, the blame be none, 
If she, a timid Maid, hath put such boldness on. 



332 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

XV. 

Judge both Fugitives with knowledge : 

In those old romantic days 
Mighty were the soul's commandments 
To support, restrain, or raise. 
Foes might hang upon their path, snakes rustle near, 
But nothing from their inward selves had they to fear. 



Thought infirm ne'er came between them, 

Whether printing desert sands 
With accordant steps, or gathering 
Forest-fruit with social hands ; 
Or whispering like two reeds that in the cold moonbeam 
Bend with the breeze their heads, beside a crystal 
stream. 



On a friendly deck reposing 

They at length for Venice steer ; 
There, when they had closed their voyage. 
One, who daily on the pier 
Watched for tidings from the East, beheld his Lord, 
Tell down and clasped his knees for joy, not uttering 
word. 



Mutual was the sudden transport ; 

Breathless questions followed fast, 
Years contracting to a moment, 
Each word greedier than the last ; 
" Hie thee to the Countess, friend ! return with speed, 
And of this Stranger speak by whom her lord was freed. 



THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE. 333 



Say that I, who might have languished, 
Drooped and pined till life was spent, 
Now before the gates of Stolberg 
My Deliverer would present 
For a crowning recompense, the precious grace 
Of her who in my heart still holds her ancient place. 



XX. 

Make it known that my Companion 

Is of royal eastern blood, 
Thirsting after all perfection, 
Innocent, and meek, and good. 
Though with misbelievers bred ; but that dark night 
"Will holy Church disperse by means of gospel-light." 



Swiftly went that grey -haired Servant, 

Soon returned a trusty Page 
Charged with greetings, benedictions, 
Thanks and praises, each a gage 
For a sunny thought to cheer the Stranger's way. 
Her virtuous scruples to remove, her fears allay. 



XXII. 

And how blest the Eeunited, 

"While beneath their castle-walls, 
Euns a deafening noise of welcome ! — 
Blest, though every tear that falls 
Doth in its silence of past sorrow tell. 
And makes a meeting seem most like a dear farewell. 



334 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

XXIII. 

Througli a liaze of human nature, 

Grlorified bj heavenly light, 
Looked the beautiful Deliverer 
On that overpowering sight, 
While across her virgin cheek pure blushes strayed, 
Por every tender sacrifice her heart had made. 



On the ground the weeping Countess 

Knelt, and kissed the Stranger's hand ; 
Act of soul-devoted homage, 
Pledge of an eternal band : 
ISTor did aught of future days that kiss belie, 
"Which, with a generous shout, the crowd did ratify. 



Constant to the fair Armenian, 

Grentle pleasures round her moved. 
Like a tutelary spirit 

Reverenced, like a sister, loved. 
Christian meekness smoothed for all the path of life, 
Who, loving most, should wiseliest love, their only 
strife. 

XXVI. 

Mute memento of that union 
In a Saxon church survives, 
Where a cross-legged Knight lies sculptured 
As between two wedded wives — 
[Figures with armorial signs of race and birth. 
And the vain rank the pilgrims bore while yet on earth. 

1830. 



XXXY. 

LOYING AND LIKING: 

IRREGULAR VERSES, 

ADDRESSED TO A CHILD. 
(by MY" SISTER.) 

[Written at Eydal Mount. It arose, I believe, out of a casual 
expression of one of Mr. Swinburne's cbildren.] 

There's more in words than I can teach : 
Yet listen, Child ! — I would not preach ; 
But only give some plain directions 
To guide your speech and your aftections. 
Say not you love a roasted fowl, 
But you may love a screaming owl, 
And, if you can, the unwieldy toad 
That crawls from his secure abode 
"Within the mossy garden wall 
"When evening dews begin to fall. 
Oh mark the beauty of his eye : 
"What wonders in that circle lie ! 
So clear, so bright, our fathers said 
He wears a jewel in his head ! 
And when, upon some showery day, 
Into a path or public way 
A frog leaps out from bordering grass, 
Startling the timid as they pass, 
Do you observe him, and endeavour 
To take the intruder into favour ; 
Learning from him to find a reason 
Por a light heart in a dull season. 



336 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

And you may love Iiim in tlie pool, 
That is for him a happy school, 
In which he swims as taught by nature, 
Fit pattern for a human creature. 
Glancing amid the water bright, 
And sending upward sparkling light. 

IS'or blush if o'er your heart be stealing 
A love for things that have no feeling : 
The spring's first rose by you espied, 
May fill your breast with joyful pride ; 
And you may love the strawberry-flower. 
And love the strawberry in its bower ; 
But when the fruit, so often praised 
For beauty, to your lip is raised, • 

Say not you love the delicate treat. 
But nice it, enjoy it, and thankfully eat. 

Long may you love your pensioner mouse. 
Though one of a tribe that torment the house : 
Nor dislike for her cruel sport the cat. 
Deadly foe both of mouse and rat ; 
E/eraember she follows the law of her kind, 
And Instinct is neither wayward nor blind. 
Then think of her beautiful gliding form. 
Her tread that would scarcely crush a worm. 
And her soothing song by the winter fire. 
Soft as the dying throb of the lyre. 

I would not circumscribe your love : 
It may soar with the eagle and brood with the dove. 
May pierce the earth with the patient mole, 
Or track the hedgehog to his hole. 
Loving and liking are the solace of life, 
Eock the cradle of joy, smooth the death-bed of strife. 



FAREWELL LINES. 33 iT 

You love your father and your motlier, 
Tour grown-up and your baby brother ; 
You love your sister, and your friends, 
And countless blessings which God sends : 
And while these right affections play, 
You live each moment of your day ; 
They lead you on to full content, 
And likings fresh and innocent. 
That store the mind, the memory feed. 
And prompt to many a gentle deed : 
But Hieing s come, and pass away ; 
'Tis love that remains till our latest day : 
Our heavenward guide is holy love. 
And will be our bliss with saints above. 

1832. 



XXXVI. 

FAEEWELL LINES. 



[These lines were designed as a farewell to Charles Lamb and his 
sister, who had retired from the throngs of London to com- 
parative solitude in the village of Enfield.] 

* HiaH bliss is only for a higher state,' 
But, surely, if severe afflictions borne 
"With patience merit the reward of peace. 
Peace ye deserve ; and may the solid good, 
Sought by a wise though late exchange, and here 
With bounteous hand beneath a cottage-roof 
To you accorded, never be withdrawn, 
Nor for the world's best promises renounced. 
Most soothing was it for a welcome Friend, 
Fresh from the crowded city, to behold 
That lonely union, privacy so deep, 



338 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

Such calm employments, such entire content. 

So when the rain is over, the storm laid, 

A pair of herons oft-times have I seen, 

Upon a rocky islet, side by side, 

Drying their feathers in the sun, at ease ; 

And so, v^hen night with grateful gloom had fallen. 

Two glow-worms in such nearness that they shared, 

As seemed, their soft self-satisfying light, 

Each with the other, on the dewy ground. 

Where He that made them blesses their repose. — 

"When wandering among lakes and hills I note, 

Once more, those creatures thus by nature paired, 

And guarded in their tranquil state of life. 

Even, as your happy presence to my mind 

Their union brought, will they repay the debt. 

And send a thankful spirit back to you. 

With hope that we, dear Friends 1 shall meet again. 



XXXVII. 

THE EEDBEEAST. 

(suggested in a WESTMORELAND COTTAGE.) 

[Written at Rydal Mount. All our cats having been banished the 
house, it was soon frequented by redbreasts. Two or three of 
them, when the window was open, would come in, particularly 
when Mrs. Wordsworth was breakfasting alone, and hop about 
the table picking up the crumbs. My sister being then con- 
fined to her room by sickness, as, dear creature, she still is, 
had one that, without being caged, took up its abode with 
her, and at night used to perch upon a nail from which a 
picture had hung. It used to sing and fan her face with its 
wings in a manner that was very touching.] 

Deiyen in by Autumn's sharpening air 
From half-stripped woods and pastures bare, 



THE REDBREAST. 339 

Brisk Eobin seeks a kindlier home : 

Not like a beggar is he come, 

Eut enters as a looked-for guest, 

Confiding in his ruddy breast, 

As if it were a natural shield 

Charged with a blazon on the field, 

Due to that good and pious deed 

Of which we in the Ballad read. 

But pensive fancies putting b j, 

And wild- wood sorrows, speedily 

He plays the expert ventriloquist ; 

And, caught by glimpses now — now missed, 

Puzzles the listener with a doubt 

If the soft voice he throws about 

Comes from within doors or without ! 

Was ever such a sweet confusion. 

Sustained by delicate illusion ? 

He's at your elbow—to your feeling 

The notes are from the floor or ceiling ; 

And there's a riddle to be guessed, 

' Till you have marked his heaving chest, 

And busy throat whose sink and swell. 

Betray the Elf that loves to dwell 

In Eobin' s bosom, as a chosen cell. 

Heart-pleased we smile upon the Bird 
If seen, and with like pleasure stirred 
Commend him, when he's only heard. 
But small and fugitive our gain 
Compared with hers who long hath lain, 
With languid limbs and patient head 
Eeposing on a lone sick-bed ; 
Where now, she daily hears a strain 



340 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

That cheats her of too busy cares, 

Eases her pain, and helps her prayers. 

And who but this dear Bird beguiled 

The fever of that pale-faced Child ; 

Now cooling, with his passing wing. 

Her forehead, like a breeze of Spring : 

Eecalling now, with descant soft 

Shed round her pillow from aloft, 

Sweet thoughts of angels hovering nigh, 

And the invisible sympathy 

Of * Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, 

Blessing the bed she lies upon ?'* 

And sometimes, just as listening ends 

In slumber, with the cadence blends 

A dream of that low- warbled hymn 

"Which old folk, fondly pleased to trim 

Lamps of faith, now burning dim. 

Say that the Cherubs carved in stone, 

"When clouds gave way at dead of night 

And the ancient church was filled with light. 

Used to sing in heavenly tone. 

Above and round the sacred places 

They guard, with winged baby-faces. 

Thrice happy Creature ! in all lands 
Nurtured by hospitable hands : 
Free entrance to this cot has he. 
Entrance and exit both yet free ; 
And, when the keen unruffled weather 
That thus brings man and bird together, 

* The words— 

'Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, 
Bless the bed that I lie on, ' 
are part of a child's prayer, still in general use through the northern 
counties. 



HER EYES ARE WILD. 3^1 

Shall with its pleasantness be past, 
And casement closed and door made fast, 
To keep at bay the howling blast. 
He needs not fear the season's rage, 
For the whole house is Eobin's cage. 
Whether the bird flit here or there, 
O'er table lilt, or perch on chair. 
Though some may frown and make a stir, 
To scare him as a trespasser. 
And he belike will flinch or start. 
Good friends he has to take his part ; 
One chiefly, who with voice and look 
Pleads for him from the chimney-nook, 
"Where sits the Dame, and wears away 
Her long and vacant holiday ; 
"With images about her heart, 
^Reflected from the years gone by. 
On human nature's second infancy. 

1834. 



XXXVIII. 

HEE EYES ARE WILD. 



[Written at Alfoxden, The subject was reported to me by a lady 
of Bristol, who had seen the poor creature.] 



Heb eyes are wild, her head is bare. 
The sun has burnt her coal-black hair ; 
Her eyebrows have a rusty stain, 
And she came far from over the main. 
She has a baby on her arm, 
Or else she were alone : 



U2 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

And underneath the haj-stack warm, 
And on the greenwood stone, 
She talked and sung the woods among, 
And it was in the English tongue. 



" Sweet babe ! they say that I am mad, 
But nay, my heart is far too glad ; 
And I am happy when I sing 
Pull many a sad and doleful thing : 
Then, lovely baby, do not fear ! 
I pray thee have no fear of me ; 
But safe as in a cradle, here 
My lovely baby ! thou shalt be : 
To thee I know too much I. owe ; 
I cannot work thee any woe. 



A fire was once within my brain ; 
And in my head a dull, dull pain ; 
And fiendish faces, one, two, three, 
Hung at my breast, and pulled at me ; 
But then there came a sight of joy ; 
It came at once to do me good ; 
I waked, and saw my little boy. 
My little boy of flesh and blood ; 
Oh joy for me that sight to see ! 
!For he was here, and only he. 



Suck, little babe, oh suck again ! 

It cools my blood ; it cools my brain ; 



KER EYES ARE WILD. 343 

Thy lips I feel them, baby ! they 
Draw from my heart the pain away. 
Oh ! press me with thy little hand ; 
It loosens something at my chest ; 
About that tight and deadly band 
I feel thy little fingers prest. 
The breeze I see is in the tree : 
It comes to cool my babe and me. 



Oh ! love me, love me, little boy ! 
Thou art thy mother's only joy ; 
And do not dread the waves below, 
"When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go ; 
The high crag cannot work me harm, 
Nor leaping torrents when they howl ; 
The babe I carry on my arm. 
He saves for me my precious soul; 
Then happy lie ; for blest am I ; 
Without me my sweet babe would die. 

VI. 

Then do not fear, my boy ! for thee 
Bold as a lion will I be ; 
And I will always be thy guide. 
Through hollow snows and rivers wide. 
I'll build an Indian bower ; I know 
The leaves that make the softest bed : 
And, if from me thou wilt not go, 
But still be true till I am dead, 
My pretty thing ! then thou shalt sing 
As merry as the birds in spring. 



3i4 POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS. 

VII. 

Thy father cares not for my breast, 
'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest ; 
'Tis all thine own ! — and, if its hue 
Ee changed, that was so fair to view, 
'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove ! 
My beauty, little child, is flown, 
But thou wilt live with me in love ; 
And what if my poor cheek be brown ? 
'Tis well for me, thou canst not see 
How pale and wan it else would be. 



Dread not their taunts, my little Life ; 
I am thy father's wedded wife ; 
And underneath the spreading tree 
We two will live in honesty. 
If his sweet boy he could forsake. 
With me he never would have stayed 
From him no harm my babe can take 
But he, poor man ! is wretched made 
And every day we too will pray 
Por him that's gone and far away. 



I'll teach my boy the sweetest things : 

I'll teach him how the owlet sings. 

My little babe ! thy lips are still, 

And thou hast almost sucked thy fill. 

— Where art thou gone, my own dear child ? 

What wicked looks are those I see ? 

Alas ! alas ! that look so wild. 

It never, never came from me : 



HER EYES ARE WILD. 345 

If thou art mad, mj pretty lad, 
Then I must be for ever sad. 



Oil ! smile on me, my little lamb ! 

Por I thy own dear mother am : 

My love for thee has well been tried : 

I've sought thy father far and wide. 

I know the poisons of the shade ; 

I know the earth-nuts fit for food : 

Then, pretty dear, be not afraid : 

We'll find thy father in the wood. 

]S"ow laugh and be gay, to the woods away ! 

And there, my babe, we'll live for aye." 

1798. 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OP PLACES. 



ADVERTISEMENT. 

By persons resident in the country and attached to rural 
objects, many places will be found unnamed or of unknown 
names, where little Incidents must have occurred, or feelings 
been experienced, which will have given to such places a private 
and peculiar interest. From a wish to give some sort of record 
to such Incidents, and renew the gratification of such feelings, 
Names have been given to Places by the Author and some of his 
Friends, and the following Poems written in consequence. 



[Written at Grasmere. This poem was suggested on the banks of 
the brook that runs through Easedale, which is, in some parts 
of its course, as wild and beautiful as brook can be. I have 
composed thousands of verses by the side of it.] 



It was an April morning : fresh and clear 

The Kvulet, delighting in its strength, 

Ean with a young man's speed ; and yet the voice 

Of waters which the winter had supplied 

"Was softened down into a vernal tone. 

The spirit of enjoyment and desire, 

And hopes and wishes, from all living things 

"Went circling, like a multitude of sounds. 

The budding groves seemed eager to urge on 

The steps of June ; as if their various hues 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 347 

Were only hindrances that stood between 

Them and their object : but, meanwhile, prevailed 

Such an entire contentment in the air 

That every naked ash, and tardy tree 

Tet leafless, showed as if the countenance 

"With which it looked on this delightful day 

"Were native to the summer. — Up the brook 

I roamed in the confusion of my heart, 

Alive to all things and forgetting all. 

At length I to a sudden turning came 

In this continuous glen, where down a rock 

The Stream, so ardent in its course before, 

Sent forth such sallies of glad sound, that all 

Which I till then had heard, appeared the voice 

Of common pleasure : beast and bird, the lamb, 

The shepherd's dog, the linnet and the thrush 

Vied with this waterfall, and made a song. 

Which, while I listened, seemed like the wild growth 

Or like some natural produce of the air, 

That could not cease to be. Grreen leaves were here ; 

But 'twas the foliage of the rocks — the birch. 

The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn, 

With hanging islands of resplendent furze : 

And, on a summit, distant a short space. 

By any who should look beyond the dell, 

A single mountain-cottage might be seen. 

I gazed and gazed, and to myself I said, 

"Our thoughts at least are ours ; and this wild nook, 

My Emma, I will dedicate to thee." 

Soon did the spot become my other home, 

My dwelling, and my out-of-doors abode. 

And, of the Shepherds who have seen me there. 

To whom I sometimes in our idle talk 



348 POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

Have told this fancy, two or three, perhaps, 
Tears after we are gone and in our graves, 
"When they have cause to speak of this wild place. 
May call it by the name of Emma's Dell. 

1800. 



II. 
TO JOANNA. 



[Wkitten at Grasmere. The effect of her laugh is an extravagance ; 
though the effect of the reverberation of voices in some parts of 
the mountains is very striking. There is, in the "Excursion," 
an allusion to the bleat of a lamb thus re-echoed, and de- 
scribed without any exaggeration, as I heard it, on the side of 
Stickle Tarn, from the precipice that stretches on to Langdale 
Pikes.] 

Amid the smoke of cities did you pass 

The time of early youth ; and there you learned, 

From years of quiet industry, to love 

The living Eeings by your own fire-side. 

With such a strong devotion, that your heart 

Is slow to meet the sympathies of them 

Who look upon the hills with tenderness, 

And make dear friendships with the streams and groves. 

Yet we, who are transgressors in this kind. 

Dwelling retired in our simplicity 

Among the woods and fields, we love you well, 

Joanna ! and I guess, since you have been 

So distant from us now for two long years, 

That you will gladly listen to discourse. 

However trivial, if you thence be taught 

That they, with whom you once were happy, talk 

Familiarly of you and of old times. 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 349 

While I was seated, now some ten days past, 
Beneath those lofty firs, that overtop 
Their ancient neighbour, the old steeple-tower, 
The Vicar from his gloomy house hard by 
Came forth to greet me ; and when he had asked, 
" How fares Joanna, that wild-hearted Maid ! 
And when will she return to us ? " he paused ; 
And, after short exchange of village news, 
He with grave looks demanded, for what cause, 
Eeviving obsolete idolatry, 
I, like a E/unic Priest, in characters 
Of formidable size had chiselled out 
Some uncouth name upon the native rock, 
Above the Eotha, by the forest-side. 
— Now, by those dear immunities of heart 
Engendered between malice and true love, 
I was not loth to be so catechised. 
And this was my reply : — " As it befel. 
One summer morning we had walked abroad 
At break of day, Joanna and myself. 
— 'Twas that delightful season when the broom. 
Pull-flowered, and visible on every steep, 
Along the copses runs in veins of gold. 
Our pathway led us on to Eotha's banks ; 
And when we came in front of that tall rock 
That eastward looks, I there stopped short — and stood 
Tracing the lofty barrier with my eye 
Prom base to summit ; such delight I found 
To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower 
That intermixture of delicious hues, 
Along so vast a surface, all at once. 
In one impression, by connecting force 
Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart. 



350 POEMS OX THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

— When I liad gazed perhaps two minutes' space, 

Joanna, looking in mj eyes, beheld 

That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud. 

The Eock, like something starting from a sleep. 

Took up the Lady's voice, and laughed again ; 

That ancient Woman seated on Helm-crag 

Was ready with her cavern ; Hammar-scar, 

And the tall Steep of Silver-how, sent forth 

A noise of laughter ; southern Loughrigg heard, 

And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone ; 

Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky 

Carried the Lady's voice, — old Skiddaw blew 

His speaking-trumpet ; — back out of the clouds 

Of Grlaramara southward came the voice ; 

And Kirkstone tossed it from his misty head. 

— Now whether (said I to our cordial Friend, 

Who in the hey-day of astonishment 

Smiled in my face) this were in simple truth 

A work accomplished by the brotherhood 

Of ancient mountains, or my ear was touched 

With dreams and visionary impulses 

To me alone imparted, sure I am 

That there was a loud uproar in the hills. 

And, while we both were listening, to my side 

The fair Joanna drew, as if she wished 

To shelter from some object of her fear. 

— And hence, long afterwards, when eighteen moons 

Were wasted, as 1 chanced to walk alone 

Beneath this rock, at sunrise, on a calm 

And silent morning, I sat down, and there, 

In memory of affections old and true, 

I chiselled out in those rude characters 

Joanna's name deep in the living stone : — 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 351 

And I, and all who dwell loj mj fireside, 
Have called tlie lovely rock, Joanna's Eocb:." 

1800. 

Note. — In Cumberland and Westmoreland are several Inscriptions, upon 
the native rock, which, from the wasting of time, and the rudeness of the 
workmanship, have been mistaken for Runic. They are without doubt 
Roman. 

The Rotha, mentioned in this poem, is the River which, flowing through 
the lakes of Grasmere and Rydale, falls into Wynandermere. On Helm- 
crag, that impressive single mountain at the head of the Vale of Grasmere, 
is a rock which from most points of view bears a striking resemblance to 
an old Woman cowering. Close by this rock is one of those fissures or 
caverns, which in the language of the country are called dungeons. Most 
of the mountains here mentioned immediately surround the Vale of Gras- 
mere ; of the others, some are at a considerable distance, but they belong 
to the same cluster. 



III. 

[It is not accurate tbat the Eminence here alluded to could be seen 
from our orchard- seat. It rises above the road by the side 
of Grasmere lake, towards Keswick, and its name is Stone- 
Arthur.] 

There is an Eminence, — of these our hills 
The last that parleys with the setting sun ; 
"We can behold it from our orchard-seat; 
And, when at evening we pursue our walk 
Along the public way, this Peak, so high 
Above us, and so distant in its height, 
Is visible ; and often seems to send 
Its own deep quiet to restore our hearts. 
The meteors make of it a favourite haunt : 
The star of Jove, so beautiful and large 
In the mid heavens, is never half so fair 
As when he shines above it. 'Tis in truth 
The loneliest place we have among the clouds. 



352 POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

And She who dwells with me, whom I have loved 
With such communion, that no place on earth 
Can ever be a solitude to me, 
Hath to this lonely Summit given mj JN'ame. 

1800. 



IV. 

[The character of tlie eastern shore of Grasmere lake is quite 
changed, since these verses were written, by the public road 
being carried along its side. The friends spoken of were 
Coleridge and my Sister, and the facts occurred strictly as 
recorded.] 

A NAEEOW girdle of rough stones and crags, 
A rude and natural causeway, interposed 
Between the water and a winding slope 
Of copse and thicket, leaves the eastern shore 
Of Grasmere safe in its own privacy : 
And there myself and two beloved Friends, 
One calm September morning, ere the mist 
Had altogether yielded to the sun. 
Sauntered on this retired and difficult way. 

Til suits the road with one in haste ; but we 

Played with our time ; and, as we strolled along. 

It was our occupation to observe 

Such objects as the waves had tossed ashore — 

Peather, or leaf, or weed, or withered bough, 

Each on the other heaped, along the line 

Of the dry wreck. And, in our vacant mood, 

Not seldom did we stop to watch some tuft 

Of dandelion seed or thistle's beard. 

That skimmed the surface of the dead calm lake, 

Suddenly halting now — a lifeless stand ! 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 353 

And starting oif again with freak as sudden ; 
In all its sportive wanderings, all the while, 
Making report of an invisible breeze 
That was its wings, its chariot, and its horse, 
Its playmate, rather say, its moving soul. 

And often, trifling with a privilege 

Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now. 

And now the other, to point out, perchance 

To pluck, some flower or water- weed, too fair 

Either to be divided from the place 

On which it grew, or to be left alone 

To its own beauty. Many such there are, 

Fair ferns and flowers, and chiefly that tall fern. 

So stately, of the queen Osmunda named ; 

Plant lovelier, in its own retired abode 

On Grrasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side 

Of Grrecian brook, or Lady of the Mere, 

Sole-sitting by the shores of old romance. 

— So fared we that bright morning : from the fields, 

Meanwhile, a noise was heard, the busy mirth 

Of reapers, men and women, boys and girls. 

Delighted much to listen to those sounds. 

And feeding thus our fancies, 'we advanced 

Along the indented shore ; when suddenly. 

Through a thin veil of glittering haze was seen 

Before us, on a point of jutting land, 

The tall and upright figure of a Man 

Attired in peasant's garb, who stood alone. 

Angling beside the margin of the lake. 

"Improvident and reckless," we exclaimed, 

" The Man must be, who thus can lose a day 

Of the mid harvest, when the labourer's hire 

Is ample, and some little might be stored 



354 POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

"Wherewith to cheer him in the winter time." 
Thus talking of that Peasant, we approached 
Close to the spot where with his rod and line 
He stood alone ; whereat he turned his head 
To greet us — and we saw a Man worn down 
By sickness, gaunt and lean, with sunken cheeks 
And wasted limbs, his legs so long and lean 
That for mj single self I looked at them, 
Forgetful of the body they sustained.- — 
Too weak to labour in the harvest field, 
The Man was using his best skill to gain 
A pittance from the dead unfeeling lake 
That knew not of his wants. I will not say 
What thoughts immediately were ours, nor how 
The happy idleness of that sweet morn. 
With all its lovely images, was changed 
To serious musing and to self-reproach. 
Nor did we fail to see within ourselves 
What need there is to be reserved in speech. 
And temper all our thoughts with charity. 
— Therefore, unwilling to forget that day, 
My Friend, Myself, and She who then received 
The same admonishment, have called the place 
By a memorial name, uncouth indeed 
As e'er by mariner was given to bay 
Or foreland, on a new-discovered coast ; 
And Point Eash- Judgment is the name it bears. 

1800. 



355 



TO M. H. 

[The pool alluded to is in Rydal Upper Park.] 

Our walk was far among tlie ancient trees : 

There was no road, nor any woodman's path ; 

But a thick umbrage — checking the wild growth 

Of weed and sapling, along soft green turf 

Beneath the branches — of itself had made 

A track, that brought us to a slip of lawn, 

And a small bed of water in the woods. 

All round this pool both flocks and herds might drink 

On its firm margin, even as from a well. 

Or some stone-basin which the herdsman's hand 

Had shaped for their refreshment ; nor did sun. 

Or wind from any quarter, ever come. 

But as a blessing to this calm recess, 

This glade of water and this one green field. 

The spot was made by ISTature for herself; 

The travellers know it not, and 'twill remain 

Unknown to them ; but it is beautiful ; 

And if a man should plant his cottage near. 

Should sleep beneath the shelter of its trees. 

And blend its waters with his daily meal. 

He would so love it, that in his death-hour 

Its image would survive among his thoughts : 

And therefore, my sweet Maet, this still Nook, 

With all its beeches, we have named from Tou ! 

1800. 



356 



VI. 



[The gro"ve still exists, but the plantation has been walled in, and 
is not so accessible as when my brother John wore the path in 
the manner here described. The grove was a favorite haunt 
with US all while we lived at Town-end.] 

"Whek, to the attractions of tlie busy world, 
Preferring studious leisure, I had chosen 
A habitation in this peaceful Vale, 
Sharp season followed of continual storm 
In deepest winter ; and, from week to week, 
Pathway, and lane, and public road, were clogged 
With frequent showers of snow. Upon a hill 
At a short distance from my cottage, stands 
A stately Fir-grove, whither I was wont 
To hasten, for I found, beneath the roof 
Of that perennial shade, a cloistral place 
Of refuge, with an unincumbered floor. 
Here, in safe covert, on the shallow snow. 
And, sometimes, on a speck of visible earth, 
The redbreast near me hopped ; nor was I loth 
To sympathise with vulgar coppice birds 
That, for protection from the nipping blast. 
Hither repaired. — A. single beech-tree grew 
"Within this grove of firs ! and, on the fork 
Of that one beech, appeared a thrush's nest ; 
A last year's nest, conspicuously built 
At such small elevation from the ground 
As gave sure sign that they, who in that house 
Of nature and of love had made their home 
Amid the fir-trees, all the summer long 



POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 357 

Dwelt in a tranquil spot. And oftentimes, 
A few sheep, stragglers from some mountain-flock, 
"Would watch my motions with suspicious stare, 
From the remotest outskirts of the grove, — 
Some nook where they had made their final stand. 
Huddling together from two fears — the fear 
Of me and of the storm. Full many an hour 
Here did I lose. But in this grove the trees 
Had been so thickly planted, and had thriven 
In such perplexed and intricate array ; 
That vainly did I seek, beneath their stems 
A length of open space, where to and fro 
My feet might move without concern or care ; 
And, baffled thus, though earth from day to day 
Was fettered, and the air by storm disturbed, 
I ceased the shelter to frequent, — and prized, 
Less than I wished to prize, that calm recess. 

The snows dissolved, and genial Spring returned 
To clothe the fields with verdure. Other haunts 
Meanwhile were mine ; till, one bright April day, 
By chance retiring from the glare of noon 
To this forsaken covert, there I found 
A hoary pathway traced between the trees, 
And winding on with such an easy line 
Along a natural opening, that I stood 
Much wondering how I could have sought in vain 
For what was now so obvious. To abide, 
For an allotted interval of ease. 
Under my cottage-roof, had gladly come 
From the wild sea a cherished Visitant ; 
And with the sight of this same path — begun, 
Begun and ended, in the shady grove. 
Pleasant conviction flashed upon my mind 



358 POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

That, to this opportune recess allured, 
He had surveyed it with a finer eve, 
A heart more wakeful ; and had worn the track 
By pacing here, unwearied and alone. 
In that habitual restlessness of foot 
That haunts the Sailor measuring o'er and o'er 
His short domain upon the vessel's deck, 
"While she pursues her course through the dreary sea. 
When thou hadst quitted Esthwaite's pleasant shore, 
And taken thy first leave of those green hills 
And rocks that were the play-ground of thy youth. 
Year followed year, my Brother ! and we two. 
Conversing not, knew little in what mould 
Each other's mind was fashioned ; and at length, 
When once again we met in Grrasmere Vale, 
Between us there was little other bond 
Than common feelings of fraternal love. 
But thou, a School-boy, to the sea hadst carried 
Undying recollections ! ^N'ature there 
Was with thee ; she, who loved us both, she still 
Was with thee ; and even so didst thou become 
A silent Poet ; from the solitude 
Of the vast sea didst bring a watchful heart 
Still couchant, an inevitable ear, 
And an eye practised like a blind man's touch. 
— Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone ; 
Nor from this vestige of thy musing hours 
Could I withhold thy honoured name, — and now 
I love the fir-grove with a perfect love. 
Thither do I withdraw when cloudless suns 
Shine hot, or wind blows troublesome and strong ; 
And there I sit at evening, when the steep 
Of Silver-how, and Grrasmere' s peaceful lake, 



rOEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 359 

And one green island, gleam between the stems 

Of the dark firs, a visionary scene ! 

And, while I gaze upon the spectacle 

Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight 

Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee. 

My Brother, and on all which thou hast lost. 

Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while Thou, 

Muttering the verses which I muttered first 

Among the mountains, through the midnight watch 

Art pacing thoughtfully the vessel's deck 

In some far region, here, while o'er my head, 

At every impulse of the moving breeze. 

The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound. 

Alone I tread this path ; — for aught I know. 

Timing my steps to thine ; and, with a store 

Of undistinguishable sympathies. 

Mingling most earnest wishes for the day 

When we, and others whom we love, shall meet 

A second time, in Grasmere's happy Vale. 

1805. 

Note. — This wish was not granted ; the lamented Person not long after 
perished by shipwreck, in discharge of his duty as Commander of the 
Honourable East India Company's* Vessel, the Earl of Abergavenny. 



VII. 

FoRTR from a jutting ridge, around whose base 

Winds our deep Vale, two heath-clad Eocks ascend 

In fellowship, the loftiest of the pair 

Eising to no ambitious height ; yet both, 

O'er lake and stream, mountain and fiowery mead, 

Unfolding prospects fair as human eyes 



360 POEMS ON THE NAMING OF PLACES. 

Ever beheld. Up-led with mutual help, 

To one or other brow of those twin Peaks 

Were two adventurous Sisters wont to climb, 

And took no note of the hour while thence they gazed, 

The blooming heath their couch, gazed, side by side, 

In speechless admiration. I, a witness 

And frequent sharer of their calm delight 

With thankful heart, to either Eminence 

Gave the baptismal name each Sister bore. 

Now are they parted, far as Death's cold hand 

Hath power to part the Spirits of those who love 

As they did love. Te kindred Pinnacles — 

That, while the generations of mankind 

EoUow each other to their hiding-place 

In time's abyss, are privileged to endure 

Beautiful in yourselves, and richly graced 

With like command of beauty — grant your aid 

Eor Mart's humble, Sarah's silent, claim, 

That their pure joy in nature may survive 

Erom age to age in blended memory. 

1845. 



NOTES. 

Page 50. 

^And, hovering, round it often did a raven fly. ^ 

From a short MS. poem read to me when an undergraduate, by 
my schoolfellow and friend, Charles Farish, long since deceased. 
The verses were by a brother of his, a man of promising genius, 
who died young. 

Page 73. 

' The Borderers.'' 

This Dramatic Piece, as noticed in its title-page, was composed 
in 1795-6. It lay nearly from that time till within the last two 
or three months unregarded among my papers, without being 
mentioned even to my most intimate friends. Having, however, 
impressions upon my mind which made me unwilling ib destroy the 
MS., I determined to undertake the responsibility of publishing it 
during my own life, rather than impose upon my successors the 
task of deciding its fate. Accordingly it has been revised with 
some care ; but, as it was at first written, and is now published, 
without any view to its exhibition upon the stage, not the slightest 
alteration has been made in the conduct of the story, or the 
composition of the characters ; above all, in respect to the two 
leading Persons of the Drama, I felt no inducement to make any 
change. The study of human nature suggests this awful truth, 
that, as in the trials to which life subjects us, sin and crime are 
apt to start from their very opposite qualities, so are there no 
limits to the hardening of the heart, and the perversion of the 
understanding to which they may carry their slaves. During my 
long residence in France, while the Revolution was rapidly advancing 
to its extreme of wickedness, I had frequent opportunities of being 
an eye-witness of this process, and it was while that knowledge was 
fresh upon my memory, that the Tragedy of ''The Borderers" was 



362 NOTES. 



Page 173. 



- Mrs. Wordswortli has a strong impression that " The Mother's 
Return" was written at Coleorton, where Miss Wordsworth was 
then staying with the children, during the absence of the former. 

Page 205. 
' The Norman hoy.'' 

' Among ancient Trees there are few, I believe, at least in 
France, so worthy of attention as an Oak which may be seen in the 
' Pays de Caux, ' about a league from Yvetot, close to the church, 
and in the burial-ground of Allonville . 

' The height of this Tree does not answer to its girth ; the trunk, 
from the roots to the summit, forms a complete cone ; and the 
inside of this cone is hollow throughout the whole of its height. 

^ Such is the Oak of Allonville, in its state of nature. The hand 
of Man, however, has endeavoured to impress upon it a character 
still more interesting, by adding a religious feeling to the respect 
which its age naturally inspires. 

^ The lower part of its hollow trunk has been transformed into a 
Chapel of six or seven feet in diameter, carefully wainscotted and 
paved, and an open iron gate guards the humble Sanctuary. 

' Leading to it there is a staircase, which twists round the body 
of the Tree. At certain seasons of the year divine service is per- 
formed in this Chapel. 

' The summit has been broken off many years, but there is a 
surface at the top of the trunk, of the diameter of a very large tree, 
and from it rises a pointed roof, covered with slates, in the form of 
a steeple, which is surmounted with an iron Cross, that rises in a 
picturesque manner from the middle of the leaves, like an ancient 
Hermitage above the surrounding Wood. 

' Over the entrance to the Chapel an Inscription appears, which 
informs us it was erected by the Abbe du Detroit, Curate of Allon- 
ville in the year 1696 ; and over a door is ai^iother, dedicating it 
' To Our Lady of Peace.' ' 

Vide 14 No. Saturday Magazine. 



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